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Disservice To Author

May 01, 1988

Having been an admirer of Larry Collins' "Is Paris Burning?" I was saddened to read his shoddy, snide review of "Code Name: Grand Guignol" (Book Review, April 3) by Ib Melchior. I, too, read the book and thoroughly enjoyed it. Collins' review contains such glaring inaccuracies that it is obvious he merely glanced at the book. We readers deserve better. Besides minor mistakes such as stating that the Grand Guignol theater closed down in 1968, while Melchior clearly shows it was 1962, Collins is in the erroneous belief that only one gun with its 492-foot-long barrel existed, while Melchior explicitly describes 50 such guns built, and he questions such a gun's existence, apparently missing Melchior's documentation of the actual existence of two batteries of the guns. Apparently Collins also believes the gun was constructed like a regular cannon with a movable barrel, needlessly pointing out that such a huge barrel could not be "swung," while Melchior clearly states that the guns were built into a mountain with fixed trajectories. At least Collins could have looked at the illustration in the book. Collins does a disservice to Melchior, shows disregard for The Times and its readers, and presents himself in a disfavorable light.

LEO HANDEL

WEST HOLLYWOOD

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