PAN Fans

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for

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

James Edwin McConnell Covers

As promised here are 17 PAN book covers by James (or Jas. as he signed) E. McConnell plus scans of the original artwork for 10 of them. If you know of anymore PAN titles please let me know as I’m sure there must be others I’ve missed. One day I’ll get around to updating my database with all the covers to which I can identify an artist. I know James also painted for many other publishers and also ‘Philmar’ the jigsaw puzzle makers. I am very grateful to his daughter, Ann, for the photograph of her father sketching a dog, a sketch she still has.

Ann says in her email “Lovely to find another fan of my Dad’s work! He did a huge amount of covers for Corgi, which when they sold out, put on an exhibition of his Western Art in London, I have the cutting from The Times somewhere! I have written a ‘foreword’ for a hopefully future book on his artwork. He had an article about his work in Illustrators Magazine 18 months ago. Most of his work was commercial so was lost to us. He did over 1,000 covers for Look and Learn. I remember him doing many of those when I was a child and he stopped working in his London studio and worked from home. I am still discovering stuff he did which I had no idea about! He spoke little of his work and I was too young to appreciate it! I have a million and ten questions now, too late of course”

If you haven’t seen the article in ‘Illustrators Number 11’ it’s well worth hunting down a copy and the Book Palace are also selling some of his artwork originals including Corgi western covers.

I love the original artwork for ‘The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters’ which is really spoilt by having title stuck on cutting off the top of the hills. If I find anymore I’ll add them and include them in next weeks blog.

Update – while just checking my spelling etc. this morning I found several auction sites selling or had sold works by McConnell. I’ve made a page to show at few of them HERE

John Gardner and ‘Moriarty’

This blog is a little different in that it is not just about PAN editions this week but several versions of a particular short series. This is because I picked up a couple of John Gardner titles published by PAN with covers by George Sharp both featuring the notorious Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes’s nemesis and then found I’d got the same titles from other publishers. Gardner is probably most well know for continuing the James Bond legacy but none of those titles were published by PAN. Quercus republished ‘Moriaty’ in the UK in 2008 while Houghton Mifflin Harcourt did likewise in the US. In 2013 PAN/MacMillan reissued some of his early books as ‘print on demand’ but the only other I can find is his retelling of ‘Grendel’ published as a Picador in 1975 with a cover by Michael Leonard. The same image was used for the Ballantine edition.The two Gardner titles were ‘The Return of Moriarty’ which for some reason or other PAN decided just to call ‘Moriarty’ unlike all the other publishers and this was then followed by ‘The Revenge of Moriarty’ In the States it was published by Putnam in hardback while in the UK it was Weidenfeld & Nicolson. The paperback versions were then published by PAN, Berkley and later Star. To see them click HERE

A couple of Berkley editions from 1981 I’d like to have.

One point of interest, maybe, my Putnam copy of ‘The Return of Moriarty’ has a red spot which I thought was part of the design as it is definitely in the printing but looking at other images on-line none of them have it. Back to a more normal blog next week with the Jas McConnell covers as promised last week

I’m in a Folding Frenzy, Ballantine and Jas McConnell

Following on from last weeks mentions of Rubik in PAN books here’s another one with a similar slant ‘Folding Frenzy’ by Jeremy Cox from 1981. It reminds me a bit of Rubik’s Snake which I still have somewhere.I have to admit that occasionally I stray and look at other publishers covers and I especially like the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series. My excuse is that some of these were jointly published by PAN/Ballantine and usually list both publishers on the cover. This week I picked up a copy of ‘The Water of the Wondrous Isles’ by William Morris that appeared to be just a Ballantine but when I opened it I found it said it was PAN/Ballantine. It is printed in the UK but has the Ballantine ISBN on the cover, is this a case of using US covers on UK  printed text blocks?


I was also really pleased to hear from James Edwin McConnell’s daughter, Ann, this week This was in response to a blog quite a while ago when I mentioned the cover for ‘Ben-Hur’ was by McConnell and Ann confirmed that her Father always signed ‘Jas’ and not James. She also mentioned there is a book coming out shortly on the work of her Father. If I find out more details I’ll mention it in a future blog plus I’ll make a page to show more of his covers.


Rubik’s PAN Connection

Erno Rubik first came up with the idea of his ‘Cube’ in 1974 but it didn’t really take off until 1981 when it won several international toy awards. Suddenly everyone was cashing in on its popularity by publishing books on how to solve it. PAN, to be different, published their ‘Not Another Cube Book’ in 1981which was also published by Ballantine in the States at the same time.

Rubik later went on to develop his ‘Snake’, his ‘Tangle’, his ‘360’, his ‘Magic’ and his ‘Clock’ As far as I can see PAN ignored the first four but did publish the authorized edition of ‘Rubik’s Clock – A Quick Solution’ by Angus Lavery. This is a very thin publication, in fact I thought the padded envelope it arrived in was empty, which was another PAN printed in Australia in 1988 by The Book Printer, Maryborough, Victoria. I presume The Book Printer is part of the McPherson’s Printing Group as they share an address and say on their site:

“……. now, more than 60 years later, that same company is the leading book printer in Australia, with big names like Penguin, Pan Macmillan, Allen & Unwin, CCH, Scholastic and Harlequin among its many loyal clients”

Hopefully someone ‘down under’ can confirm this – Bill?

…. and finally if you want an instant collection  of PAN books here’s one Bazaar Fullmore spotted. I’ve scrutinised it very closely and can’t spot anything I’m after so feel free to bid.

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.