PAN Fans

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for

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

The Hammer House of Horror

This week I have had to install a backup for this blog, then run the WordPress update and also update the version of PHP to 7.3 so I’ve been reluctant to do too much to it in case it all went wrong. Plus I have been working down our old railway track or our allotment in spite of Storm Gareth so I’ve only one item but it’s a quality one.

I was sorting through boxes of bits and pieces I had put on one side moving my collection to my ‘library’ last year when I came across some John Burke contracts including three related to the Hammer Horror titles, namely ‘The Hammer Horror Omnibus’ English ‘and Italian editions and “The Second Hammer Horror Omnibus” English edition. I contacted Johnny Mains who pointed me in the right direction to get the Italian edition but when I showed him the Dutch edition, which he didn’t know about he said “****”

I was surprised to find that the Dutch edition was published by K-Tel who I always thought of as producing those products that were suitable to give to some one who had everything such as the brush-o-matic and the disc-o-matic. The latter was a record selector and I actually still have a couple somewhere along with some of the compilation records tha K-Tel produced.

With this new version of WordPress there seems to be a lot more options such as having coloured backgrounds etc and tempted as I am to use them all I’ll stick with my tried and tested format although I’m not saying there won’t an occasional foray into different realms!

Having now played around with this version a bit more I think I prefer the earlier one but I have discovered I can switch parts of it back to ‘Classic’ ie the previous version. If I use that with the ability to add html I might be able to do what was so simple before.

PS Still waiting to hear back from four artists but as it is now 2 months since writing to one of then I may put that down as a failure!

Michael Hardcastle, John Le Carre and Daphne du Maurier

Michael Hardcastle, who died last January, wrote over 140 books on various subjects including four published by PAN under its Piccolo imprint. These feature the ‘Scorton Rovers’ with three covers by Gary Keane. As I couldn’t find an email address for Gary I’ve written him a letter and if I get a response I’ll add  it to a blog.  The fourth cover is by Mike Lynn of whom I can find nothing so far.

I recently posted on a James Bond fans Facebook page a query about ‘The Looking-Glass War’ by John le Carre as I know they also show an interest in others titles in a similar genre. I asked a question about PAN Books editions of ‘The Looking-Glass War’ I have a 1st from 1966 numbered X528 which has 75c printed on the cover. I thought it was like OHMSS where UK early printings were sent to the colonies but this is actually printed in Canada. The ‘real’ UK 1st printing appears to be numbered M210 so I asked if anyone had a number X528 printed in the UK as I’ve not found one online?  I also asked after an enquiry from fellow PAN Fan Jem Birch “Why is there a variation in the logo on the spines of some 2nd printings from 1967, some have yellow and others red?” Any ideas?

I’ve finally managed to get a 1975 edition of Daphne du Mauriers ‘The Scapegoat’ to replace the image I got off the web. This was very faint so I thought the real thing would be better but turns out to be very faint as well. I’ve acquired a few titles this week and rather strangely five of them have the very discrete ‘GDA’ logo for Gino d’Achille.

Paul Scott, Daisies, Pop Up Bookshop, ‘O Jerusalem’ and ‘World Book Day’

This weeks featured author is Paul Mark Scott who died on the 1st March 1978. He was born on the 25th March 1928 in London and was a novelist, playwright, and poet. He is probably best known for his monumental tetralogy ‘The Raj Quartet’ His novel ‘Staying On’ won the Booker Prize for 1977. PAN published ‘The Raj Quartet’ in 1988 and all his other back titles in the next two years. Up to then PAN had only published two titles ‘The Mark of the Warrior’ and ‘The Chinese Love Pavillion’

Nine of the covers are by the Belfast artists Kenny McKendry and I emailed him to ask about them and he kindly replied “Hi Tim, Yes indeed you have the right Kenny McKendry, It was a long time ago but I have nice memories of travelling up to London to deal with Pan quite often. The name of my contact as art director escapes me right now but I am sure it will come back to me. He was a jolly fella and quite generous with fees etc. They were quite a closed shop in terms of commissioning and I was considered fortunate to be on their roster of artists. I’m afraid in those, days due to deadlines etc, I did tend to rush things out and not give the literature the proper consideration. I can’t say I did a lot of them justice. I do have the art work somewhere and will get back to you with photos when I track it down. That’s a great website, nice to be reminded of the old way of doing things. Will get back to you soon. Best regards, Kenny”  I think the art director might have been Gary Day-Ellison. I’ll report back any further news.

Another addition to the ‘PAN As Seen on Television’ section and yet again from ‘Bargain Hunt’. This time it was in a Stamford bookshop and prominently in the spinner display was a very decrepit looking copy of ‘Please Don’t Eat the Daisies’

The pop up bookshop has reappeared in Wolverhampton and is there for another two weeks so if you are around the Wulfrun Centre be sure to pop in. They seem to have more paperbacks this time although I only bought one PAN which turned out to be the same as the one I already have, the old memory is not what it was! On the plus side I did buy a few titles to actually read.

I was going to report back on all my purchases from Amsterdam but only picked up one title from the flea market on Waterlooplein for 1 euro  (see below) I did better calling in at Durham on the way back where I picked up three early Pearl Buck titles that looked like they had never been read. Buy three, pay for two in the Oxfam shop was not a bad deal.

Finally don’t forget ‘World Book Day’

AUSTRALIAN SPECIAL Terry Lane, Ian Moffitt and Ben Ostrick

Sorting through newer titles I find I have several that are by Australian authors and printed by PAN in Australian.

One of them ‘Gilt Edge’ by journalist Ian Moffitt (1926-2000) is odd in that the word PAN is redacted on the cover while it says Hinkler Books on the spine. I’ve emailed Hinkler to ask if they bought up surplus stock and put their name on it, no response so far. I did find this copy which still shows the word PAN but it’s the only one so far.
The second author is radio broadcaster Terry Lane (1939) and I’ve scanned in the three titles published by PAN although two fail my ‘PAN Man’ logo test but for completeness they are included.


The Australian connection to Ben Ostrick (above with wife Marie and baby Lisa Dawn) or J. Oval as he is probably better know from all of the covers he did using that name for PAN is that I eventually tracked down where and when he died.It was on the 13th December 1966 and his memorial can be found near Sidney at Position 27, Wall K, North Walls, Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park, Matraville, Randwick City, New South Wales, Australia.Thanks to member’s of Ben’s family for clues of where to look. If any fellow PAN Fans are around there I’d love a photo of the memorial.

Rebound Editions, Ross Thomas and Farmer Joe.

If you are reading this then it means it has successfully published itself as schedule as we are making our way back over the North Sea from Amsterdam to Newcastle Upon Tyne. I’ll report next week if I have managed to acquire anything of PAN related interest.

Last week I picked up assorted bits and pieces including some very nicely rebound editions of Jean Plaidy titles and unusually for this type of mutilated paperback they have left on the front and back covers.

The featured author of the week, which I’ve just decided will be a new  occasional offering, this time is Ross Thomas who has had six titles published by PAN. He was born on February 19, 1926 in Oklahoma City and died two months before his 70th birthday in 1995. Another edition of ‘If You Can’t be Good’ (as above) should be in the post and I will add a good scan as soon as it arrives.Thomas also wrote as Oliver Bleeck but I don’t think PAN published any of those.

Quite a while ago I made a page showing three of the four “Out and About” series titles but didn’t include the last one as sellers were asking silly prices.I have now completed the set and got the last one at a lot more acceptable price namely 99p.

Colin Dexter Pan Crime, More Plastic Covers, RIP Albert Finney and George’s Covers?

I’ve added a few more covers to the Colin Dexter page and although they don’t have the ‘PAN Man’ on them they do have the PAN Crime dagger that was used for a couple of years along with several others designs for the different genres. One is odd in that there are two variants of the style that was previously used on just one title, the red dagger and the yellow rectangle. I’ve left some areas with just a message in then hope that these editions do exist but I don’t know for sure at the moment.

After putting on a PAN title with a Plastic Cover last week I have since found four more. As a site that does judge a book by its cover I’ll leave you to form your own opinions!

We lost another actor from my formative years last Thursday, namely Albert Finney. I can remember sneaking in to see ‘Tom Jones’, cert 18, when I was 13 but I was tall for my age! Alan Sillitoe received a Golden PAN award for ‘Saturday Night and Sunday Morning’

I’ve also heard back from George Sharp regarding the cover for ‘Count Vronsky’s Daughter which, even with his name on the back, he says is not his! This is the second cover George says is not his even with his name on the back, the other being the 1980 edition of  ‘The White Rajah’

John Burke, Golden PAN Awards and a Plastic Cover

John Burke, who wrote over thirty titles for PAN under different names, also appeared on the BBC TV programme ‘Mastermind’ He got through to the semi-finals as did his wife Jean who was also on ‘Brain of Britain’ Thanks to the BBC Genome Project you can find the listings which the BBC printed in Radio Times between 1923 and 2009.
HERE are the listing relating to John and Jean plus of one of his plays.

After putting on details for Adam Kay and his well deserved ‘Golden PAN Awards’ I’ve been updating the page for these awards. The the link can always be found at the top of this page.

A while ago I put on three PAN titles which were slightly larger than a paperback and which had plastic covers. I’ve now added a fourth, ‘The Personal Computer Handbook’ but for the the life of me I can’t work out why you might need a wipe clean book about computing!

Back in the day when I was a real teacher we were the first authority in the UK  to have a computer in every classroom including the nursery schools. I’m not saying there is a connection but a certain computing giant (this was back in 1980) did have it’s UK headquarters about half a mile away from our Education Department. The company is listed in in the above mentioned book.

Adam Kay, James Herriot and a Couple of Artists Updates.

I was really pleased to hear from James Seabright who leads Seabright Productions of another ‘Golden PAN Award’ and this time given to Adam Kay for selling a million copies of ‘This Is Going To Hurt: Secret Diaries Of A Junior Doctor’ Adam is touring the UK over the next few months with his show of the same name produced by James and, fingers crossed, my wife and I will get to see Adam (and maybe the award?) in Dudley in June.

It was my birthday last Wednesday and having spent the first part of it in A&E after my Iritis returned after five years I was really pleased to find what should have been a Christmas present to myself, but is now a Birthday present, had arrived a last. It is a boxed set of the first six James Herriot titles STILL in their shrink wrapped box. Now the dilemma is, as I bought them from Canada, do I open them to find out if they are they UK or Canadian editions, no clues on the outside? 

The couple of artist updates are for ‘Count Vronsky’s Daughter’ with a cover by George Sharp and ‘Storm Warning’ of which I now have a copy  and can confirm it is from 1993 with a cover by Adrian Chesterman.

Janet Sandison aka Jane Duncan, Dexter additions and raw fingers!

After falling off a ladder last week in our side passage and managing to run the fingers of my hands down both brick walls trying to brace myself I have nicely skinned all my finger tips. This is making typing and using a mouse a little painfully but on the plus side it has got me out of a lot of other things!

I eventually got the last title in the ‘An Apology for the Life of Jean Robinson’ series by Elizabeth Jane Cameron who wrote as Jane Duncan writing as Janet Sandison! Janet Sandison was the name of the main heroine in her ‘My Friends” series in which there were nineteen titles with fourteen of them published by PAN. I’ve not found artists for the first three titles but I did find a reference to the fourth being by Jooce Garrett and I’ve sent him an email to see if this is correct.

I also picked up another three editions in the Colin Dexter ‘Morse’ series that have the PAN Man logo on them from 1983 and 1984 (LBTW, TSWONQ, TROTTM) They might be seen as the ‘International’ editions as they are not TV tie-ins for countries where the series was probably not broadcast and on the plus side I don’t think they’ve ever been read.

If the fingers are up to it I’ll try and re scan all the Jane Duncan ‘My Friends’ titles and put them on one page as they are still under their PAN numbers at the moment.

UPDATE Have just heard back from Jooce Garrett to say that the Sandison cover is his and was the first one he did. Have also heard from Paul Wright who asked me to remind him which PAN covers were his which I’ve done and awaiting further communication.

Three Artists – Burningham, Wright and Coleman

It’s sad to report another artist has gone, this time it’s John Burningham who died on the 4th January but it wasn’t announced until last week. He illustrated many books but as far as PAN Fans go it is probably for his work for ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ that he is most well know. PAN published two editions in 1968, the first under the Piccolo imprint and the second as a film tie-in. Interestingly, although John illustrated the text in both, his work only features on the cover of the 2nd printing. Paul Wright is credited for the 1st.

It is a strange coincidence in that only this week I got a later copy of ‘Fiasco’ and was trying to work out the signature on the cover when I realised that this was also Paul Wright. I’ve tried to contact him to ask if he did the covers specifically for PAN or if they were recycled as he was a prolific marine artist, no reply so far. He also did the text illustrations for the Piccolo editions of the five Alexander Barrie novels (the above is an example)

I picked up a copy of ‘Learn to Paint Portraits’ by Roger Coleman which included the photo above. Roger painted covers for 1974 PAN Nevil Shute series which were also used for the US Ballantine editions. In the book he shows how he works on a portrait and I though one example looked familiar.It is of another PAN cover artist Michael Leonard whose self portrait hangs in the Ferens Art Gallery in Kingston-Upon-Hull except when we go to see it and all the portraits were replaced by contenders for the 2017 Turner Prize nominees. The book gave me a location for Roger and I’ve managed to track down an address for someone with the same name there and a letter has gone off. As usual fingers crossed but no response up to now.