Mrs Balbir Singh's Indian Cookery book anonymously returned 53 years late to Paisley Library

Overdue Mrs Balbir Singh cookbook returned to Paisley Library more than 50 years late with apology and £20 note

Paisley Central Library team supervisor Linda Flynn with the copy of Mrs Balbir Singh’s Indian Cookery book which was mysteriously returned after 53 years with an anonymous apology note and £20. Much to the surprise of Linda and her team.

This amazing story broke 24 hours ago in Scotland and has since gone on to be picked up by hundreds of newspapers and media outlets across the UK, and internationally. Including the BBC, Daily Mail, Sunday Post, and The Daily Record, Scotland's largest paper.  According to the BBC:-


The copy of Mrs Balbir Singh's Indian Cookery was posted to the library anonymously, along with a £20 note and a letter apologising for its lateness. It was loaned out in about 1968 although it is uncertain who borrowed it because lending records from this time are no longer available. Paisley Central Library said returning the book was a "lovely gesture". The accompanying letter said: "Please accept my apologies for the late return of this book. Enclosed is a token payment in recognition of this oversight. Thank you." The £20 will be donated to charity as Renfrewshire Libraries is currently not imposing fines for the return of overdue books.


Mrs Balbir Singh Cookbook Returned to Library after 53 Years

We were so surprised to hear of this wonderful and charming news yesterday. It seems that copy of my grandmother's book was loaned out from the library before I was even born.

We've sent some blends to Linda and her team at the Paisley Central Library for their kind gesture of donating the £20 to charity and keeping the precious and now even more storied copy of the book safe.

We'd also love to know who the kind person is that returned the book. If they do come forward and make themselves known to us or one of the media outlets around the country, such as journalist Isabella Nikolic of the Daily Mail, then we'll supply them spice blends every month for a year.


We're very proud to have a large following in Scotland, so perhaps someone will have an an idea of who it could be? If so please do let us know at our email address or on social media by tagging or mentioning us us.

Thank you so much!


Mrs Balbir Singh is the award-winning godmother of Indian home cooking, and author of Mrs Balbir Singh's Indian Cookery, as featured in "The Best Indian Cookbooks Ever, as Judged by the Experts" - The Telegraph (UK)

Pallavi Sitlani is Mrs Balbir Singh's only grandchild and founder of fast-growing gourmet spice blend company She and her husband Sunil Sitlani set up the family-owned business to not only celebrate her grandmother's achievements, but to take her amazing recipes and taste experiences to broader audiences. Demystifying, simplifying and democratising the making of gourmet home cooked Indian food, much like her grandmother did, but in ways that suit modern lifestyles. Importantly without compromising on quality, authenticity, or taste. The company has over 3000 5 star reviews on their website. 

Copyright Notice: All worldwide copyrights and intellectual property relating to Mrs Balbir Singh's Indian Cookery are held by the Sitlani's companies.