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Top: written by R. Austin Freeman and Dr J.J. Pitcairn under the pseudonym Clifford Ashdown, The Adventures of Romney Pringle was described in Queen’s Quorum, a selective history of the genre from 1845-1967 written by Fed Dannay and Manny Lee [aka Ellery Queen) as “the rarest volume of detective-crime short stories published in the 20th century”. In the publisher’s cloth, now rubbed and splitting at the hinges, it sold for £1800.

Middle: the first Inspector Morse book, Colin Dexter’s Last Bus to Woodstock of 1975, made £700. His second, Last Seen Wearing of 1976, sold at £650.

Bottom: inscribed to her mother, this 1939 copy of No Wind of Blame, one of a dozen detective novels by Georgette Heyer, made £600. Similarly inscribed, A Blunt Instrument of 1938 made £450.

Buyer’s premium: 17.5/15/10 per cent