24 FEBRUARY 2001, Page 63

Q. A friend of mine recently had a youngish man

to stay for the weekend. Quite unexpectedly the man died — of natural causes — while he was staying there. Without wishing to make light of this tragedy in any way, an interesting social dilemma was thereby thrown up. What does one do about the visitors' book in such a scenario? Like me, this friend is meticulous about collecting the signatures of those who stay the night under her roof. This man did stay the night. How should she have recorded his stay?

Name and address withheld A. The correct procedure is to ask the doctor to sign out any guests who have died

while enjoying your hospitality. The entry should give the doctor's own signature followed by, in brackets, 'attending the demise of.. . . ' then giving the full name of the deceased.