A British Columbia library said there was something unusual about a recently returned book -- it was 42 years overdue.

Vancouver Island Regional Libraries said a copy of Wilderness Living by Bernt Berglund was put into the drop box Monday at the Courtenay Library and the pink stamp card inside the cover shows it was last checked out from the Union Bay branch in 1977.

"It's really a mystery as to where the book was for the last 42 years," VIRL spokesman David Carson told the Coast Mountain News.

"The book is in great condition after 42 years. It smells good, its corners are crisp, its pages are nice and sharp," Carson said. "It's in really good shape."

Carson said the book would have incurred a $3,442 late fee if the library didn't cap fines at $7.50.

VIRL is hosting a contest on its Facebook page, inviting commenters to make up their own story about where the book has been for the past 42 years. Three winners will be selected Monday and will win a VIRL book bag.