PAN Fans

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for

PAN Fans - Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for

A Walk on the Wold Side + Two Mystery Artworks

Lovely weather for our third outing walking along the “Yorkshire Wolds Way” where we have actually reached and just passed the half way marker. At this rate it will be 2018 before we finish but might just decided to go all out and finish it next year.
Why is it that signs always seem to be pointing uphill?

I’ve added this photo of Gavin Rowe who did several Piccolo covers but we have no idea if the artwork he is holding was actually used in a book. We have the Facebook members of Jane Badger Books helping but no luck so far, any ideas?GavinRowe
… and as promised last week an unknown artwork which was a free gift from Eileen Strange last summer included when I bought several others off her. I’m  sure I’ve seen it before but it just won’t come to mind. Any one help?Mystery

Alan Cracknell Again

CracknellI’ve come to the end of the identifiable artwork I bought in the summer with this weeks example being from Alan Cracknell.  I’ve one left that is still proving a mystery as I’m sure I recognise it from somewhere but no even a near guess so far. I’ll include it next week just in case someone can help to identify it.

BlytonTodays painting features a title that seems to cause consternation amongst the more vociferous bloggers and tweeters and appears to be on a par with Christie’s “Ten Little Niggers” and is “The Three Golliwogs” by Enid Blyton. I don’t feel the need to apologise for what happened in the past, these titles were of their time and although some have been changed over the years they are what they were.

MayfairI’ve added the artwork to Alan’s page and included a few more non PAN examples of his work included some from men’s magazine ‘Mayfair’ which  I was ‘forced’ to look at to find artwork! (I think he did paintings for four editions) plus the cover of a children’s cookery book. I’ve still not heard back from Alan so either I’ve got the wrong one or, and I find this hard to believe, he just doesn’t want to talk to me. I do have the last resort namely a phone number so maybe next month. Off to do part 3 of our annual Wold’s Way Walk tomorrow then it will be 45 miles down, 45 to go.

Jackie Collins RIP


It was a sad surprise to hear on the radio yesterday morning that Jackie Collins had died. As I get older 77 now seems to be no age at all but unfortunately breast cancer is no respecter of age. I have not met her but I have met people who were present when she visited the PAN offices and they were all unanimous in saying what a charming and unassuming lady she was.



In the top photo she is with Ken Hatherley and George Sharp while below with Peter Tietjen.Jackie[1]I had only just received the latest chapter to her book as a member of her Fan Club and eventually managed to find my dedicated photo. She won at least 5 Golden PAN awards for selling over a million copies of a title.Jackie Collins

I’m sorry to say I do cannot lay my hands on any of her books published by PAN at the moment so have resorted to the net to make the following compilation of examples.

“The Hills Are Alive ……….. with the sound of chuffing”

SoundJust back from a very enjoyable ten days on the continent travelling around using ‘The Little Trains of Austria’ hence this rather brief blog. Looks like we had a narrow escape as I’ve just heard on the news that Germany reinstated border checks with it and Austria yesterday because of the refugee crisis. They must have had a lie in as luckily there was no sign at of anything at around 9:30 when we crossed.

I’ve returned to find I have successful located another one of the many Daphne du Maurier covers which I’ve tacked onto the bottom of her page. It is The Progress of Julius’ and after my moan about not knowing what edition one would get from unhelpful sellers it turned out to actually be the one in the photo.

In the not quite PAN section I have a few more additions sent me from Tomislav in Croatia. He works as a beer salesman and as one of the most popular brands over there is PAN he gets bits and pieces.PANBits
I’m really disappointed in that I didn’t get a shot of the Sun Chemicals Inks Division at Ternat in Belgium. They bought out Coates Brothers who produced the ‘invisible ink’ for the puzzle series from Piccolo to which I’ve added a couple of new covers. We drove passed it and I didn’t manage to get a photo but though “Never mind, that’s what Google Streetview is for” BUT on Google all I get are views of lovely green fields. No wonder I hadn’t noticed it before when we’ve gone that way.

Finally I always like to leave my mark so I helpfully left all the computers in the hotel lobby in Liege logged into an excellent website.Site

All at Sea with PAN Books!

In 1947 there was a paper shortage in the UK for printing books so to get around this PAN had early titles printed in France where paper was more readily available. This gave rise to the problem of transportation so PAN purchased the ex Royal Navy Motor Launch 225 and used it to carry books down the Seine from Paris, across the Channel and then up the Thames to Kingston Wharf. The boat was built in 1941 at Brightlingsea by Aldous and was offered for disposal in October 1945.Bookshop BoatUnfortunately the above cutting got the name of the boat wrong and added an ‘o’. If you click HERE you can see a photo of ‘Lalun’ ( the name of a prostitute in Kipling’s ‘short story ‘On the City Wall’) moored up at Kingston Wharf and as far as I know this may be a world exclusive thanks to Adrian Bott, Alan Bott’s Grandson lending me a photo album, more from which later. Interesting that the article says the books were intended ‘chiefly for export’


Kingston-upon-Thames Wharf

Fellow PAN Fan Jules Burt is looking for funds to purchase equipment so he can produce high quality images for a book. He is probably most well known for his ‘penguinaday’ but he is also going to show other publishers including, and this caught my interest, PAN so if you want to help and find out more go HERE

Finally yet another moan about book sellers who cannot be bothered to check their titles to verify an edition shown with a ‘stock photo’ I’ve used this dealer in the past who has been quite happy to check but now they say “Regrettably I will be unable to confirm this information for you as our warehouse operation is not set up to enable us to. As we carry a very large inventory it is difficult to search for specific information. The listing is generally connected via the ISBN or EAN for media, which should give you all the required information.” Funny how they can find the book quickly enough if I want to buy it and it’s all very well saying I can return it if not happy, I’d just rather they could answer a simple question – does it look like the photo in the listing?

Here’s Johnny!

Suprisingly managed to set up a visit from Johnny Mains last Saturday. I was supposed to be in Austria but dates changed and when I saw Johnny was visiting a bookshop locally (the one from which I’m banned) I invited him over. I think he liked my collection of books including the PANs , commenting on the quantity, something my wife often does, but not with the same feeling! Here are a couple of selfies he’s posted on line plus a photo I took of him holding a copy of ‘Tales of the Supernatural’ I gave him as his had disappeared.

Johnny is working on several different things at the moment but is hoping to get his ‘PAN Book of Horror Stories Scrapbook’ out before Christmas. Here is a rough draft of the cover.11902318_950785201651510_8942821977901518419_n[1]
Just added another screen capture to the ‘PAN as Seen on TV’ section with a shot of presenter Paul Martin from ‘Flog It’ on BBC1 26th August 2015. He was walking down a corridor at Prideux Place in Cornwall and I noticed on the right there were several PAN editions of Georgette Heyer titles of various vintage (sorry about the page formatting as it has life of its own and screws everything up whenever I add anything to it. It will get a complete rebuild – one day)

Lastly sad to see ‘Reader’s World’ second-hand bookshop in Birmingham has closed down. I’m not surprised as I rarely saw anyone in there when I undertook my twice yearly visit to say ‘Hi’ to some old friends that had been on the shelves for many a year.

Australian Special

I was going to try and tie this in with an Australian holiday but missed what sounded like a great idea namely  “Picnic Day” on 1st August in the Northern Territory.

I’m going to look at three titles with an Australian link.

“Variable Winds at Jalna” was printed in the UK but only has prices on the back for Australia and Canada. On the front is a sticker I’ve seen before which I’m presuming was put on by an Australian distributor? Can anyone enlarge on that?
I found a website that said the cover was by Gordon King and I was really pleased as I have the original artwork but it is not signed. I contacted Gordon who wrote back to say it is DEFINATELY not one of his and he only did 4 of the 16 in the Jalna series.

I’ve not seen this Piccolo title on sale anywhere but in Australia so maybe it was one exclusively for there, the only Australian printed Piccolo I’ve come across. The cover is by Walter Cunningham  who was born in 1910 in Surrey, England and emigrated to Australia in 1924. He joined the staff of John Sands in 1926 eventually becoming manager of the art department. He died in August 1988 at Mona Vale, New South Wales.

The last title was printed in Australia but on the back cover the only price says  it was £1.75 in the UK. Is this a rare case of books being sent from Australia and priced here in the UK instead of the usual other way around? The cover looked like it could be by Paul Sample (Tom Sharpe covers) and so I emailed him to ask if he remembers doing it or if I’ve insulted him as well by implying it could be one of his. He replied very promptly to say;

Dear Tim
Yes, it is one of my illustrations, dating from the early 70’s……….I can remember drawing it, dip pen, ink and watercolour. I did quite a few bookjacket illustrations besides all the ones for Tom Sharpe’s books. Not all of the jackets were for Pan though.

Original Artwork from Alan Cracknell etc.

First blog since upgrading to Windows 10 – so far so good!

I mentioned in the last blog I was trying to contact an artist, namely Alan Cracknell, but no success so far but then again I may not have the right one. The artwork this time features his interpretation of that famous character form Enid Blyton “Mr Twiddle” in “Hello Mr. Twiddle” There were three titles in this series but only two were published by PAN under the Piccolo imprint who didn’t include “Don’t Be Silly Mr. Twiddle” I’ve also included a couple of his other Blyton covers. I’ll put on another piece of his artwork soon.Twiddle1Alan was born in Harrow in 1937 and attended art school before working as an illustrator in advertising in London eventually became freelance.
“His beautifully detailed artwork influenced by Russian Icons and Medieval miniatures incorporates Nursery Rhyme Characters, Flora and Fauna, Field names and Artifacts in a surreal manner into his work. Medieval meets Alice in Wonderland” (Bell Fine Arts)

I meant to include this cutting last month when it actually appeared but it went missing and turned up a bit ripped!MorphPan published three Morph titles under the Piccolo imprint where Tony Hart is shown on the covers but it is Peter Lord who is credited inside.


Mastering the beast before being let loose in the woods.

….. and finally, although this is probably ‘old hat’ to all of you and for once nothing to do with books I got around to having a ‘Segway Experience’ last week. I was quite pleased, for once, to be told off for going too fast around the corners but as I didn’t crash into anything or fall off I thought I’d mastered it pretty well!

Book Fair Two plus Michael Johnson

Isn’t it always the way, no local book fairs for months then two come along in the same week. On Friday we went to the annual fair at the Methodist Church in Lichfield, one of my favourites as I don’t think they let dealers in before hand, but not as successful as visits in the past. The pile of the left is mine, the ones of the right are those of my wife, probably a draw this time!

There were a lot of old friends in the boxes, I think some of the Penguins from the 30’s and 40’s were nearly new when they first went out! I ended up buying five paperbacks and one I was really pleased to find was a Jean Plaidy with a signed cover. Usually they are unsigned and attributed to Renato Fratini but this one was signed ‘Raynes’ so another to add to John’s page and I now need to look at the Plaidy titles more carefully.  Louismag
No original PAN artwork this week as I’m still waiting to hear back from the artist himself to see if he has any memories of producing the covers. To compensate I’m showing some artwork by Michael Johnson including one I have for a Coronet title.  Johnson painted five covers for PAN in the ‘Angelique’ series plus a sixth title for Putnam in the States. Why PAN didn’t use the sixth or Putnam the other five I don’t know.

Just added a couple of Piccolo covers by Gavin Rowe whom I mentioned in the last blog. I’m sure he must have done more than two so I’ll keep looking.

Original Artwork plus Book Fair

This weeks original cover art work is by Gavin Rowe who trained at the Croydon School of Art and then at The Royal College of Art in Kensington. Since 1970 he has worked with many publishers including Faber, Hodder, Penguin, Pan, and Magi as well as being commissioned for BBC’s Jackanory series. He is well known for his ‘painterly’ jacket covers for paperback novels. Gavin lives in Sussex, and continues to work as a full time illustrator. I spoke to him on the phone last Thursday and hope to have more about his work in a later blog.

The annual Baddesley Clinton Book Fair to raise funds for the National Trust  is on now, it started on Saturday and runs to next Saturday. As usual we were there as soon as it opens in case we miss ‘all the bargains!

It is not everyday that I get to buy books in the grounds of an 16th moated manor house but then again as a life member of the NT I am supposed to actually part own it – I think I’ll have the room over the entrance! There were tables everywhere, several I’ve not photographed including the storeroom where John,  retired bookseller who runs the fair, let me mooch.

BC7Here are our purchases and for once my wife has a bigger pile than me but that is down to buying larger books. The top three paperbacks shown are all in unread condition, the Steinbeck being by Brian Sanders with Alan Lee modelling on the cover and T12 ‘The Robe’ having a cover by Pat Owen. I have the original artwork for this but unfortunately not signed. T13 ‘The Fisherman’ is in the same style and that appeared in the Bonham’s auction catalogue of 1991 credited to Pat Owen so I’m 99% sure mine is as well. I think Pat is still with us living down on the South Coast but I have not managed to contact up to now. Amongst my others are several Piccolo titles plus some newer PAN’s with covers I liked.