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Top: a crime story that has become a standard by which others are judged, this copy of Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest of 1929, in a torn jacket, made £11,500.

Middle: G.K. Chesterton’s The Man Who Knew Too Much of 1922 was sold at £1300, while a signed and inscribed copy of The Incredulity of Father Brown, 1926, reached £1800.

Bottom: in a jacket designed by architect and painter Robin Macartney, who took part in expeditions with Agatha Christie and her archaeologist husband, Max Mallowan, this copy of Death on the Nile realised £4800. Sold for £3500 (P. Harrington) was a review copy, in original light brown cloth lettered and decorated in black, of The Mysterious Affair at Styles, the writer’s first book and the one that introduced the world to Hercule Poirot.

Buyer’s premium: 17.5/15/10 per cent