A stolen volume of William Shakespeare's collected plays, published in 1623 and worth about $2.5 million, has been recovered thanks to the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington.

Police in Durham, in northeast England, were questioning a 51-year-old man in connection with the case. The book known as Shakespeare's First Folio -- the first published collection of the bard's plays seven years after his death -- was stolen from Durham University in 1998.

Shakespeare scholars and rare-book lovers on both sides of the Atlantic hailed the news.

The break in the case came June 16 when a man with a British accent arrived without an appointment at the Folger Library. He had a book that he said came from his family in Cuba and wanted the experts there to tell him if it was a genuine and important volume by Shakespeare.

"From time to time people have asked us to help them to figure out what a book might be," said library spokesman Garland Scott. "On the other hand, usually those people have called or e-mailed beforehand."

The library contacted the FBI. It could not immediately be determined if the man in custody is the man who visited Folger. The suspect lives in a modest, brick, two-bedroom home in a working class neighborhood of Washington, England -- about a 15-minute drive from the university where it was stolen. There was a silver Ferrari in his driveway and Armani suits in the closets. The man lived there with his mother, in her 80s, who told police her son "buys and sells books."