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Letter: William vindicated: it was an accident

Sir: The suggestion that David Townsend should eat his way through all 38 William books ('An appetite for Just William'; Diary, 23 July) gives an added resonance to the meaning of consumer.

However, it should not be necessary for him to eat either the books, or their replicas in cake. William did shoot a cat ('A Witch in Time' in William the Bold), but it was a mistake; his airgun pellet usually hits something 6ins from where it is aimed. In this case, it didn't: he did aim at Miss Evesham's bird-killing cat (the bane of William's father's life), but it was in order to hit the nearby rose pole. When he realised what had happened, William was aghast and 'trembling with apprehension'. Later he found another cat for Miss Evesham, indistinguishable from the first.

So - in my view - the accusation that William acted out of malice or cruelty is not proven and Mr Townsend, and his digestion, can rest easy.

Yours faithfully,



Pan Macmillan Children's Books

London, SW10

23 July