April 16, 2018

Rare nineteenth-century books unexpectedly found during a police investigation


Another mystery out of the UK last week: From Hannah Butler at the BBC comes a story out of Anglesey, Wales about a collection of rare, nineteenth-century books unexpectedly found in a home police were searching, and believed to be stolen.

The North Wales Police were searching the property for an unrelated investigation, and stumbled upon the books by accident. The “potentially rare” books, found inside a suitcase, include copies of Alice in Wonderland and the Bible.  

The police can’t comment about the separate investigation that led them to the books, but they have taken on this literary case as well: they intend to reunite the books with the descendants of a Mary Elizabeth Taylor, to whom some of them are inscribed.  A spokesperson for the police told Butler, “As some of the books are personalised, we would dearly like to re-unite them with their owners — or more likely their descendants, as there will doubtless be emotional ties.” Another book has “David Cooke 1989” inscribed inside the front cover.

Handwritten notes dating from 1892 to 1894 were found inside the books, which could prove valuable clues. Officers suspect that the books were stolen “from anywhere between Merseyside and north Wales,” but have yet to determine whether they were purposely stolen or picked up by chance.

Lost and forgotten rare books… where have we heard about that before?



Stephanie DeLuca is the director of publicity at Melville House.