Readers in Fife, Tayside and Angus have escaped library fines totalling thousands of pounds during the coronavirus crisis.
Books fans have kept hold of 44,456 overdue books in the area after the Covid-19 crisis threw return schedules into disarray.
Scottish crime stalwarts Ian Rankin and Stuart MacBride join lesser known names – such as His Bloody Project writer Graeme Macrae Burnet – among the top writers least likely to have made it back onto library shelves.
Many libraries across the region had previously managed to reopen in a limited form, but the latest virus guidance means outlets have again closed their doors.
Maximum fines on unreturned library books vary between no charge and £5.
Local authorities have suspended charges for overdue books with the moratorium remaining in place until at least March 31 2021.
21,751 books off the shelves in Perthshire
Readers in the largely rural Perth and Kinross have kept the largest number of books in their homes.
Librarians in the area were missing 21,751 books going into December with an estimated value of around £185,000.
Thriller and crime writers Ian Rankin and Peter May were the writers least likely to have their novels returned.
May’s novels I’ll Keep You Safe, Cast Iron and Coffin Road were those most likely to have earned the overdue stamp.
Leisure and Culture Dundee’s 9,638 missing in action titles included BA Paris’ million-selling thriller Behind Closed Doors alongside some more surprising entries.
Man-Booker long-listed, and historical murder puzzler His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet also appeared in the city’s list.
Counter-culture classic Jack Kerouac’s On the Road featured as well.
Kids in the Kingdom
Fife readers have 5,945 books sitting at home with a value of around £47,000.
Children’s writers dominate in the Kingdom with Aesop’s fable Hare and Tortoise and Julia Donaldson’s Sugarlump and the Unicorn among those books most likely to be still out to play.
While in Angus, 7,122 items have not been returned since Angus Alive libraries closed their doors for lockdown on March 18.
Thriller and crime writers dominate in the county with north east writer Stuart MacBride, and his granite city detective Logan McRae, high on the wanted list.
A Culture Perth and Kinross spokesperson said: “It should be noted that many of our libraries remained closed due to the restrictions of the ongoing pandemic.
“Our figure, therefore is higher than we would normally see at this time of year as a result.”