Abingdon library, a best-selling author and a dog: a transatlantic thriller

“My dog ate it." We all know that phrase but it can be a dreaded reality for many dog owners.

Picture of CoraFor one individual across the pond, Teresa Bennett, it was particularly stressful to find out her rescue dog, Cora, had destroyed a signed copy of a book she had borrowed.

However, thanks to the work of staff at Oxfordshire County Council’s Abingdon Library, Indianapolis-based Teresa was able to replace the book, Slow Horses by Mick Herron, and even get her own signed copy of his latest collection.

Jess Williams, Customer Service Advisor at Abingdon Library, explained the unusual request: “Last November, we were lucky to welcome Mick Herron to Abingdon Library to promote his newest story collection, Standing by the Wall.

“Shortly before the event, I was contacted by a lady from the USA, who explained her dog had chewed a prized copy of a Mick Herron book she had borrowed. She was desperate to organise a new, signed copy to replace the destroyed one.

“As the book has been adapted into a TV show, its popularity meant it was difficult for her to get her hands on a copy – and even harder forThe destroyed book an autographed copy.

“We regularly hold events at Abingdon Library with famous authors, speakers and much more. She noticed through her online search that we were hosting an event to launch Mick Herron’s latest series of short stories and asked if this meant we could help her to get a book autographed for her.”

So working closely with contacts back in America, Jess worked around the clock to get a copy of the book to the library in time for the event. Eventually Teresa Bennett managed to get a second-hand copy delivered at the eleventh hour, but when it arrived at the library, typically, it was in very bad condition.

Miraculously though, the Abingdon Library team managed to get hold of another copy just in time to get it signed at the event.

She continued: “When I explained to Mick Herron about the mishap, and the international efforts undertaken to get this book to him, he Mick Herron and team at Abingdon Libraryabsolutely loved it. Not only did he sign the book but he also asked to get in touch with Teresa directly.

“This is such a wonderful example of how libraries and books can unite people and spread happiness and, in this case, from across the globe. It’s amazing that somebody all the way in Indianapolis called on Abingdon Library for help and I was delighted to play my part in the story of a dog, a book and a thriller writer.”

As Mick Herron testified himself: “The tale of Cora and her taste for fiction is one of those delightful episodes that come along every so often, proving that stories don't only happen in books – even if the best ones end up in libraries!”

He’s since arranged for Teresa to receive a signed copy of Standing by the Wall, signing it, ‘Teresa & Cora – Another tasty book …. With my best wishes, Mick Herron.’

Mark McCree, Service Manager for Libraries and Heritage at Oxfordshire County Council, said: “This story just shows how much a love of literature can unite us all over the world and how much our library staff will go above and beyond to help people get their hands on a book!”

Oxfordshire County Council’s libraries, including Abingdon, regularly hold events, most of which are free of charge, for people of all ages, from rhymetime for young children to knit and natter for adults and much more. Find out more about what’s on by visiting the county council’s libraries’ webpages.

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