A book has been returned to a Paisley library more than 50 years late, complete with an apology and a £20 note.
Staff at the Renfrewshire town’s Central Library were stunned to receive a copy of Mrs Balbir Singh’s Indian Cookery in the post accompanied by the cash and an anonymous letter.
It is thought to have been loaned out around 1968, but as this was prior to records being digitised, there is now no way of knowing who had borrowed it.
The letter accompanying the returned book, published by Mills and Boon in 1965, said: “Please accept my apologies for the late return of this book.
“Enclosed is a token payment in recognition of this oversight. Thank you.”
The £20 will be donated to charity, as Renfrewshire Libraries is currently not charging a fine for the return of overdue books.
Linda Flynn, Paisley Central Library Team Supervisor said: “I was more than a little surprised when I opened the padded envelope and saw what was inside.
“It’s rare to have a book returned after being overdue for so many years. I suspect the book had been lying in a cupboard or a drawer for some time and was only recently discovered.
“It was a lovely gesture from whoever found the book to take the time to send it back with a £20 note as a token gesture for it being so long overdue. We’ll make sure the money goes to a good cause.”
Mrs Balbir Singh was born in Punjab in 1912 and became an internationally renowned chef, cookery teacher and cookbook author.
Her cookery book was met with much acclaim when it was first published in London in 1961, and went on to inspire future generations of Indian chefs and home cooks.
The book sold hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide and several editions with revisions, and recipe additions were printed in the following years. Mrs Balbir Singh died in 1994.
Linda added: “You could see that the book had been well used and some of the marks on the pages suggested that someone had followed the recipes to make a good few dinners.
“Unfortunately, the book isn’t in a condition to put back on our shelves for people to borrow, but since it’s become a talking point among library staff, we’ll keep it in a safe place.”
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