A 1937 Collins Crime Club copy in dust jacket of Agatha Christie’s Dumb Witness, $15,000 (£11,700) at Weiss Auctions.

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First published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club on July 5, 1937, by which time any novel featuring the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot was guaranteed a substantial print run, the book itself in its orange cloth is not a great rarity.

However, the rust and black pictorial jacket with its semi-photographic image of an Airedale terrier that is central to the plot rarely survives. A note on the back reads Agatha Christie’s own dog, Peter, to whom this book is dedicated, posed for photograph on the jacket, but disclaims any connection with the events of the tale.

The copy here had some small losses to the spine but the price of 7 shillings and 6 pence remained unclipped. Estimated at $3000-5000, it hammered for $15,000 (£11,700) on January 10.

Watts version

As a recent price comparison, the copy of Dumb Witness that formed part of Rolling Stone drummer Charlie Watts’ large holdings of Christie first editions sold at £8500 in September last year.

It was in a dust-stained, price-clipped jacket supplied from another copy but was inscribed by the author to her secretary, amanuensis and close friend Charlotte ‘Carlo’ Fisher.

Dumb Witness was released later in 1937 in the US by Dodd, Mead and Co under the title Poirot Loses a Client, with the price set at $2.