Mystery of the thriller

A MYSTERIOUS book last checked out from a Minnesota library was returned to the City of Vincent library by an unknown figure last week.

Library staff quickly realised the copy of The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe didn’t belong to them when they noted the last checkout date was January 29, 1969 from the College of Saint Teresa in Winona, Minnesota, USA.

The last borrower’s name appears to be “S. Nanson,” though we couldn’t find a matching name in local phonebooks. There are records of some Nansons in Minnesota, but far north from Winona. 

The college closed down in 1989 and the book had obviously been withdrawn so Vincent library staff contacted their counterparts in the main Winona Public Library, which has also posted on its social media trying to find out more clues about how the book travelled 10,723 miles across 51 years and ended up in the wrong library. 

The book is a 1949 printing of the 1794-published tale of terror taking place in an Italian castle, and is considered the archetypical gothic romance novel that paved the way for books like Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Oval Portrait, and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight. 

By DAVID BELL

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