LETTER:Deliberate errors

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From Mr Hugo Barnacle

Sir: In reviewing Mark Lawson's novel Idlewild ("Whatever happened to JFK", 24 June) I thought of raising the dire possibility that the various inconsistencies, contradictions and howlers in the text were deliberate, but decided to give Lawson the benefit of the doubt. Anyone can make a mistake, but only the most pretentious novelists still indulge in the deliberate mistake. Sadly, Lawson now claims (Letters, 3 July) that in one or two cases, though not in others, that is exactly what he was doing. Pity. I obviously let him off far too lightly.

As it happens, Lawson makes another error in his letter. The horse Black Jack did not pull President Kennedy's funeral carriage. He followed it, saddled but symbolically riderless, with a marine leading him by the bridle.

Yours faithfully,

Hugo Barnacle

London, N1

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