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Novel approach

What an excellent review by Andrew Baxter (NCE 17 November) of Pompeii. I can't come up with anything so exciting. However, for the record, The Children by Edith Wharton has a civil engineer in a central role.

There is little about civil engineering - Wharton is a relationships writer (and a very good one at that) rather than an action author - but the engineer is quietly heroic and very human in his role as guide to a group of American children in Europe in the 1920s.

And Secret Villages, a collection of short stories by the Scottish poet Douglas Dunn, published in 1985, also features civil engineers.

However, we come out less well in these, as Dunn tends to use a civil engineer as a plot device for an absent husband. Make of that what you will!

Rona Wightman (AM), 45 Normandy Road, St Albans, Herts

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