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Stolen book returned after 33 years

The letter that accompanied the returned copy of ‘The Complete Works of William Shakespeare’. PHOTOS/SUZANNE OLIVER


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William Shakespeare may have died over 400 years ago, but the legendary writer’s complete works have turned up at Wairarapa College in mysterious fashion.

A copy of ‘The Complete Works of William Shakespeare’ was delivered by courier to principal Shelley Power at the end of last year, with no return address or clue as to who had sent it.

But there was a note that helped to solve the mystery.

Wairarapa College librarian Ewan Hyde and student Tulsi Cutfield place the book back on the shelves after a 33-year absence.

It read: “To the principal of Wairarapa College.

“I stole this book from the library when I was a troubled teen in 1984.

“I apologise for my dishonesty & denying WaiCol students access to ‘the Bard’.

“Please know I am no longer troubled.

“Kind Regards.”

Ms Power said the letter was a “bittersweet reminder of the days in which troubled youth would act out by stealing copies of Shakespeare from the school library”.

Librarian Ewan Hyde said he had never seen anything like it before.

“Once something’s gone for that long, it’s usually gone for good.

“It’s good to have it back — Shakespeare is kind of an ageless subject really.”

Mr Hyde said although the school had copies of individual plays, they had no other copies of the complete works.

“We’ve got the individual plays, but this is one bound volume of all the plays.

“It’s the complete works, so we’ll probably actually re-catalogue it into the system.”

The book was stolen before computers were brought in to keep track of everything in the library and wouldn’t have appeared on the system when they were installed, he said.

“They would have written it off years and years ago.

“It’ll be really useful to have it back.”

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