Library book in UK returned 84 years late by grandson of man who borrowed it

COVENTRY, England — Better late than never. Even after 84 years.

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A British man returned a library book checked out in 1938 by his grandfather and even donated some cash to cover any fines. After all, the book was 4,385 weeks late, according to the BBC.

Paddy Riordan returned the book on Tuesday to the Earlsdon Carnegie Community Library in Coventry, SkyNews reported. Riordan said the copy of “Red Deer,” by Richard Jefferies, was checked out on Oct. 11, 1938, by Capt. William Humphries, who borrowed the book for his daughter, Anne, according to the BBC.

Riordan said he found the book, which has survived the Blitz and Brexit, while cleaning out his late mother’s house. Riordan said his grandparents had to move from their Coventry home in 1940 after the Germans bombed the area, and speculated that the book was one of the items he retrieved from the rubble. He just never returned the book.

“I feel I have expunged my grandfather’s crime,” Riordan joked to the BBC.

The book had remained on a bookshelf of Humphries’ home until he died in 1957, SkyNews reported. It remained undisturbed until Riordian discovered it among his grandfather’s belongings.

Riordan returned the book, along with a donation of $21.22, the BBC reported. That works out to one old British penny per week, according to SkyNews. If the library’s current rate for fines had been applied, the cost of returning the book would have been $8,911.03, the BBC reported.

The book, originally published in 1894, can be bought on Amazon for $24.95.

“It’s such a lovely piece of the library’s history,” Lucy Winter, the library’s community engagement coordinator, told the BBC. “(Riordan) was so nice and it was so kind of him to donate the fine back to the library.”

“I thought it might be a bit of fun for the librarians,” Riordan said in an interview. “I hadn’t realized that it would be quite as much fun as this.”

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