By MICHAEL CAINES
"Dearest girl a RING! Thank you so very much. And what a lovely one – obviously magic – a ring of power. I think it is made of mithril. (I hope you know your Tolkien.)" The author of these words, Iris Murdoch, sent them to her dear friend Philippa Foot on December 23, 1969 – within a few years, as far as I can tell, of Murdoch starting to write her letters at the desk of the author she perhaps somewhat surprisingly alludes to here. . . .