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Curious suitcase of Hercule Poirot.

Byline: Mike Lockley Staff Reporter

TRYING to discover the original owner of Hercule Poirot's dressing case is proving a puzzle that could even test Agatha Christie's famous sleuth.

The battered item was owned by the character played by Kenneth Branagh in his star-studded 2017 version of Murder on the Orient Express.

But it has now been acquired by Oldbury antiques shop Home by James from a local man who worked on the film's visual effects.

Owner James Anderson is selling the case, made in Birmingham in 1912, for PS425 - along with a receipt from Fox UK Productions as proof of provenance.

But trying to trace the piece's history is proving a real-life whodunnit. The clues are there but, to date, the trail has run cold.

"It's an extremely high quality gentleman's dressing case," said Mr Anderson. "Made by H Grieves Ltd, of New Street, Birmingham, in 1912, every element is clearly marked with the Birmingham maker, including the solid silver jar tops inside, ivory, badger hair brushes, shoehorn and so on."

The well-to-do individual who owned the item at the turn of the century has proved elusive.

The owner's initials, "JSJ", are all over the case, and there is also an address.

Yet Mr Anderson's research has drawn a blank.

"The case bears their address, 'Sandhurst', Sutton Coldfield," he says.

"I presume this was a large house that stood where Sandurst Road, Little Aston, is today.

> Kenneth Branagh Poirot "It would be great fun and really interesting if anybody could identify the house or the mysterious JSJ who bought the case in 1912 in H Grieves' smart store.

"It would have been an incredibly expensive item at the time, comparable to a Louis Vuitton suitcase today."

The case contains all its original period accessories. There are six cut-glasses, hand-planished silver jars, four ivory badger hairbrushes, an ivory shoehorn, leather-bound notebook and ivory quill pen.

It is crammed with everything a gentleman would need while travelling abroad.

The fact that the case was used in the most recent version of Murder on the Orient Express has sparked immense interest.

as Mr Anderson added: "I purchased it from a chap who worked on the film in visual effects. He bought it from 20th Century Fox props department - I have his receipt as provenance of its film career. I know nothing of the case's life between Sutton Coldfield in 1912 and its use in the film, but I'm very proud to have repatriated it to Birmingham."

CAPTION(S):

<B James Anderson with the suitcase, and left, its clues

<B Kenneth Branagh as Poirot

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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 25, 2019
Words:430
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