PAN Fans

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for

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

RIP Gino D’Achille 30/11/1935 to 10/02/2017

I was speaking to artist Michael Johnson on the phone last Wednesday when he mentioned that sadly Gino D’Achille had died on the Friday before. Gino had been suffering with Parkinson’s which meant he was unable to do what he loved best, painting. but could still sketch according to his daughter Simona when we last contacted back in 2013. The following is from his website;

Gino D’Achille was born in Rome in 1935 and displayed a precocious talent as an artist from a very young age – being invited at 11 years old to present a portrait he’d made of Pope Pius XII to the pontiff himself. From 13 he studied at Rome’s Liceo Artistico, going on to the University of Architecture at 19. By now, he was already drawn to the world of commercial art, producing advertising illustrations for the prestigious agency Studio Favalli in his spare time. This led him to pursue a full-time career in Milan, where he gained the attention of British scouts, and in 1964 Gino was persuaded to move to London. Here, he immediately established his credentials with his illustrations for David Kossof’s popular Bible Stories, commissioned by WM Collins.

His international reputation gained hold with his 1973 paintings for the John Carter of Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, going on to create over 100 cover paintings for other science-fiction titles published by Daw Books, Ace, Ballantine and various other publishers. He is also well known for his series of covers for the much-loved Flashman series of novels by George Macdonald Fraser, as well as countless western adventure stories, crime thriller and war stories, romance novels and children’s books.

Gino lived in London and Corsica with his wife, painter Mim Hain.

Gino painted many covers for PAN and here are a couple of links to pages showing some examples I’ve featured before. I will make up a section soon to try and include as many examples as I can find and put them all in one place.

Here is the link to his HART covers and another to the du Maurier page with several of his covers.

‘Posh Book’ and Piccolo or Piper First Books?

Spotted this on Abebooks and was tempted for all of three seconds until I saw the price but then again I don’t suppose Agatha signed that many paperbacks. It’s definitely a classier rebinding than a lot I’ve seen and apparently the book originally belonged to Mary Anna Marten OBE (1929 – 2010) and was purchased via auction. It was part of a lot of Thirty Five signed Agatha Christie books bound together in seven volumes. These have now been split and re-bound into separate individual volumes. All books were signed by Agatha Christie sometime in the late sixties. This slim volume can be yours for just £575 plus £3.95 postage. Below are a few more with different publishers from the same seller, Lasting Words Ltd. and with prices ranging from £425 to the PAN as the most expensive.


This is a bit confusing as the four titles as above are listed as a Piper series but with the Piccolo logo while inside it says ‘First published by Piper Ltd in 1984 and distributed under the Piccolo imprint by PAN Books Ltd’  Click HERE to see the four covers.

The imprints and their logos are usually to be found as in the two examples above of  ‘Gangsters, Ghosts and Dragonflies’ with covers by Terry Oakes (next blog) from 1983 and 1993.

Thinking of Holidays and Puzzling Over Dates!

Now winter is behind us (!) it’s time to start thinking about summer holidays and jetting off to foreign parts. I’ve mentioned the ‘Travellers’ language books before now but here are a couple of titles to help you avoid the pitfalls of overseas travel both before you go, while in transit and when you get there. They are by Brian Moynahan and I can understand the changing of the one title to make its content clearer but I wish they’d have given it a more inspiring cover.

While sorting I noticed I’d got three copies of ‘A Married Man’ by Piers Paul Read all with covers I find very uninspiring and whilst looking on the net found another, a first printing from 1981 but can I find a copy that doesn’t say ‘Stock Photo’ under it? Not sure it’s worth just buying on spec. What I found more interesting is that two of the editions are under PAN’s Pavanne imprint and the TV tie-in definitely says Pavanne on the cover and 1982 inside but in the 1986 reprint edition it says ‘First published in Pavanne in 1983’ No wonder there are so many error with dating if they are using old text blocks.

Pavanne was introduced by PAN to showcase the best of UK fiction while Picador was to include the best of international fiction.

Finally last week I included a picture of the ‘Laloun’ in Paris. It was moored at the Quai de Austerlitz in 1947 and the quai is still recognisable today.

A couple of interesting covers this week etc.

Having two aunts in hospitals in different towns plus the mother-in-law in a care home it seems to have been just one round of finding spaces and paying a fortune in expensive car parks!

On a more cheerful note I did manage to get a couple of books with interesting covers. The first is a double with one way up being ‘God, The Ultimate Autobiography’ and turn it around and over and you get ‘Satan, The Hiss and Tell Memoirs’ The cover is by Warren Madill described by his agent as “the original fine art forger” and I’ve emailed to ask if the artwork is original or a pastiche but no reply yet.

The second cover is what appears to be a Canadian edition of ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau’ from 1977. It does not say where it was printed but has the look and feel of the slightly tackier Canadian paper and printing.

…. and finally another taster of Gordons story with a photo of PAN’s book boat ‘Laloun’ moored up in Paris.

Piccolo SPY SHELF etc.

I’ve noticed a book on eBay that crops up now and again listed as a ‘Piccolo SPY Shelf’ title about the CIA. I’ve tended to ignore thinking it can’t be PAN as a children’s imprint and the CIA didn’t really seem to go together. In the end curiosity got the better of me and on checking found it was a Piccolo title plus there were two more in the series which I’ve scanned in and put HERE. The covers are by artist John Avon and I’ve emailed him but not had a reply up to now.SpyShelfI also noticed on eBay several sellers of ‘Battle Cards’ of which number 7 refers to Terry Oakes who painted several covers for PAN/Piccolo. The problem was that to buy just the one specific card would cost me about $5 but I could buy 71 including number 7 for $1 so I now also have 70 all different cards from 1993 which might end up in a frame.

I’m also really pleased this week in that I have got another chapter from Gordon, who is 92, and was a member of the crew of the boat ‘Laloun’ which PAN bought to transport books from the printers in Paris back to London. It’s fascinating reading but I’ll save it until I’ve got all the parts. There is one bit I’ll share and that is the boat should have been called ‘Lalun’ as after the character in the Kipling story ‘On a City Wall’ Alan Bott initially wanted ‘Patricia’ but boats registered at Lloyds must have unique names and this and second choice ‘Lalun’ were already in use so the ‘o’ was added to make ‘Laloun’

John Doxat “Stirred – Not Shaken”

Back in July fellow PAN Fan Jem Birch asked me about titles, namely which were the shortest and which were the longest. Well it turned out there were several contenders for shortest including  ‘Jet’, ‘Mia’, ‘Sex’, ‘BRM’ and ‘Raj’ but only one for the longest ‘Booth’s Handbook of Cocktails and Mixed Drinks’ by John Doxat. This was first published by PAN in 1966 and a revised hardback edition was published in 1967 by Arthur Barker which seems to be a reverse of the norm.hardbackIn the blurb in the PAN 1983 edition it says “John Doxat, who has been described in an American journal as Britain’s ‘foremost thinking drinker’, was born the day the Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated at Sarajevo; was educated at Charterhouse and in Paris; practised varied journalism (wartime service in the Intelligence Corps); went into PR i9, and thence into the broader field of publicity and advertising with Booth’s, and in 1969 became publicity manager of Buchanan Booth’s Agencies Ltd, the DCL subsidiary, distributors of Black & White and Buchanan’s Reserve Scotch Whisky, Strathconan Malt Whisky, Booth’s Finest Dry Gin, High and Dry Gin, Cossack Vodka and Hine Cognac”

Click HERE to see the page of PAN covers including one variation from 1973 I’ve only found on an American sellers website where he is asking £42.28 plus £27.07 postage!!! Doxat seems to have written many books over the years but with a consistent theme, namely drink. One  has a link to another favourite of mine, James Bond, in that 007 gets a mention on the back cover of ‘Stirred – Not Shaken’ published by Hutchinson in 1976. This seemed like a very good title until I looked on Amazon and was amazed to see so many other books with the same title plus others with ‘Shaken – Not Stirred’

I’d love to go to the Los Angeles Vintage Paperback Show on March 19th this year but it’s not going to happen so I was pleased to see two PAN titles used in the montage for the Facebook cover photo.


Thomas Forman, printers plus a couple of snippets.

Now I don’t know if I ever gave it much thought but I think I naively believed the covers for PAN books and the text blocks were done at the same printers but I now know that not to be the case. forman2So far I’ve only found one printers, namely Thomas Forman and Sons Ltd, who were a huge and long established printing concern in Nottingham until they went out of business in 2000. It was while looking at some images in the Thomas Forman archives I first spotted a familiar cover ‘The Striptease Murders’. I contacted the preservation society who kindly sent me the following email

Dear Tim.

Formans printed a number of book covers for Pan Books. We also hold printed samples of the following titles: Man Meets Dog – Konrad Z. Lorenz The Way Back – Vincent Brome Bony Buys A Woman – Arthur Upfield

Howard F. Parker (Secretary) Thos. Forman Preservation Society

I’ve put together a page HERE which gives a little of the history plus links to the newly scanned covers of the four mentioned titles. I’m taking the opportunity,when revisiting back pages, to put on larger scans. This is something I would like to do for all but it just takes time – and is mind blowingly boring!

I’ve also added a newspaper clipping from ‘The Valley Morning Star’ from 31st July 1976 which has a report of Ralph Vernon-Hunt presenting James Herriot with four Golden Pan Awards

Lastly but by no means least I’ve managed to get a first edition copy of Alan Bott’s  book ‘An Airman’s Outings’ This still has the very rare dustjacket and was published by William Blackwood and Son in Edinburgh in 1917. airmansoutings

Paul Davies – and a Happy New Year 2017

Since I first made contact with Paul Davies back in the Spring to ask about the 12 covers he produced for Leslie Thomas titles we’ve emailed on and off about various things. Just before Christmas Paul was generous enough to give me one of his cartoons he drew for the book ‘Some Missing Persons’

pdbookshop2I was so pleased it was the one depicting ‘The Bookshop Owner’, unfortunately a fast disappearing breed. Paul has a website showing many examples of his work and also a very amusing blog, I think we have a similar sense of humour and I’m looking forward to meeting him in the New Year, either up here or down in Cheltenham where he is having an exhibition in August. This makes a change as it seemed all the people connected with PAN in some way live in London or down south on the coast.


On a different note while trying to find something to watch on TV on Boxing Day I came across a BBC ‘Countryfile’ compilation on James Herriot where you had to look carefully, blink and you missed it, to see a clip showing a pile of Herriot PAN editions plus a couple of mugs. I’ve added a screenshot of it to my ‘As Seen on TV’ page.

We are now into 2017 and so I’ll wish you all the best with many happy hours finding and sorting those PANs, maybe this will be the year I get that elusive last title!

‘The PAN Book of Horror Stories Scrapbook’

Christmas 2016 has now come and gone which for us this year was a very quite affair with just our family of four but I did acquire for myself an interesting present. Due to unforeseen circumstances Johnny Mains is currently unable to continue his work on ‘The PAN Book of Horror Stories Scrapbook’ Johnny kindly offered me his archives as he knew I’d keep them safe which of course I will in the hope that one day he may feel up to finishing it. Les Edwards is also holding onto the cover he painted hoping it may be used in the future.

lesedwardsAlong with many signed books, photos, manuscripts and contracts etc. I also got a couple of pieces of artwork for books 3 (William Francis Phillipps) and 16 (Alan Lee) I’ll be putting together some pages about the collection in the New Year but HERE is one with the covers. Book 3 is the later 1974 edition but uses the same artwork as X161 from 1962 which I’ll add later as it needs a new scan.

Here’s to many more happy finds in the future so I’ll wish all PAN Fans everywhere a healthy and prosperous New Year 2017

Terry Oakes at Last – and Christmas Greetings

Finally got around to scanning in the original three Terry Oakes artworks I recently purchased but my scanner now seems to have fallen out with my computer and is having a sulk! I’ve ended up photographing them and luckily I’d already scanned in the covers to go with them. I will add more when the connectivity problem is sorted.

I managed to get the covers for two of the three titles in the ‘Borribles’ series by Michael de Larrabeiti. They are the first and third titles as I missed out on the second which was used by Savatage for their ‘Sirens’ LP cover and was bought by a fan. Terry also did vignettes for the backs and I have these for the first and second but not the third as this was of a character called Treld who was named after Treld Pelkey Bicknell who worked at PAN. She begged Terry for it and he gave it to her and apparently it hangs on her toilet wall

The third piece of artwork is for ‘The Death Rays of Ardilla’ by W E Johns one of the six titles in his space series. The other five covers will be added when the scanner is back in action, hopefully this week.

wreathAs Xmas will have come and gone by next Monday it just remains for me to wish all our faithfully PAN Fans out there a very ‘Happy Christmas.