Stolen library book, BID TIME RETURN, is returned 35 years later with $200, restored, and signed by the author.

Kristen Inbody , kinbody@greatfallstribune.com
Published 10:37 a.m. MT March 28, 2017 | Updated 2 hours agoBuy PhotoThe Great Falls Public Library opens its Music in Library Park series with Mike McNulty Tuesday, July 5.(Photo: TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO)Buy PhotoThe Great Falls Library recently received a letter from a man confessing to stealing a library book in 1982.The 1975 Richard Matheson novel “Bid Time Return” was in bad shape and deteriorated with every reading, the man wrote. He had the book restored, a process that removed any trace that it was a library book, except for a number stamped on the dedication page.The man said he read the book at least 25 times.“It’s one of the, if not the greatest sci-fi/romance stories ever written; it’s absolutely fascinating” and the swiped edition is now a highly sought-after collectible, he wrote.”Bid Time Return” is the story of a dying man who falls in love with a portrait and wills himself back in time to meet the woman portrayed. (Photo: WIKIMEDIA)The book thief met the author, who died in 2013, and had the purloined book signed to him even though the book “wasn’t mine to begin with,” he wrote.Matheson is best known for his 1954 novel “I Am Legend,” but also wrote “The Shrinking Man,” “Hell House,” “What Dreams May Come” and many others.Having the stolen book has “just been bugging me,” wrote the reader, whom the library didn’t identify.“This is not my book, it belongs back in the Great Falls Public Library – wrongfully taken, yes, but if you can, kindly take into consideration it has been loved and cared for all these years and know I am sorry for taking it,” he wrote.The book was returned with a $200 donation and an expression of “hoping for a chance for redemption here.”Director Kathy Mora told library trustees that she wouldn’t condone theft of library materials but “the effort and funds he put into caring for the book are remarkable.”Read or Share this story: http://gftrib.com/2nIG4W4