PAN Fans

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for

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

Hedger (not Edgar) Wallace and another PAN boat.

I recently bought a ‘bumper bundle’ of bits relating to the book ‘End Quiet War’ by Hedger Wallace. Wallace was born in Winchester on the 14th October 1927 and died in Fulham in February 2000. IMDB has credited him with 56 appearances in films and on TV. In the package was a signed copy of the PAN edition, plus a letter included with the contract, the contract itself, a couple of photos and the original typed manuscript. The cover is by Paul Simmons who coincidently a while ago kindly sent me a photo of covers which included this title.

I also came across a book “Coming Down The Seine’ by Robert Gibbings which mentions Alan Bott and a different boat to the ‘Laloun’ which was also, apparently, used for shipping books from France. In September to coincide with the 70th anniversary of PAN issuing book numbered ‘1’ and the next 9 which were all printed in France I’ve got a great article from Gordon who was the mate on the ‘Laloun’ carry those first copies. I’ve tried to get PAN interested in his really entertaining memories but disappointingly they’ve not reacted so far.
I’ve asked Gordon if this might be a photo of the ‘Yarvik’ or just one with the same name although it is the right length and was built for war work. I’ll hopefully have an answer soon but Gordon is presently touring around on the continent.

Finally I’ve been emailing Linda who runs the entertaining ‘Catherine’ site. I knew of her via the ‘Angelique’ site run by Anna who mentioned it to me. Interestingly Linda has three PAN editions which are the same as the UK ones but are all printed in Canada. I mentioned to her I would need to contact my wife’s cousin who lives in Oakville (the same Oakville from where came Eric Monkman fans of University Challenge) to go out scouting for me. Linda is Swiss but actually learnt her English while living in Hamilton, literally next door to Oakville.

UPDATE: Gordon has just replied “Yes” same boat, more when he gets back from Bruges.

L Houghton and a modest Angelique.

I recently bought an original artwork by L Houghton for a Mills and Book cover in their ‘Doctors’ series. Interestingly it’s not quite the same as the book cover in that the nurse is the same one but the original doctor is removed and replaced by another on the other side but they don’t seem to have taken into account the green curtains!

L Houghton is a bit of a mystery. Steve Holland on his Bear Alley site thinks he could be Laurence John C Houghton so I’ve emailed a family member who now lives in Australia but was born just down the road from where I am now. I’ll let you know if I have a reply.

The only PAN cover I can find that he painted is the “The Drowning Pool’ by John Ross Macdonald from 1955.

If anyone has any more information on this artist we’d love to hear about it.

I also got an email from Anna who runs the website that ‘m sure all Angelique fans have visited. She used the photo of my Angelique film poster on her site but drew my attention to the same poster but looking slightly different. Spot the change HERE I thought it must be for a country where censorship was heavier than the UK back in the 60’s and on checking I found it was being sold by Ashgrove Auctioneers in Portarlington, County Laois which does explain the cover up. It was only years later I found that the film ‘La Ronde’ was not really 45 minutes long, that was just how much was left by the censors when I saw it in Dublin in 1966!

STOP PRESS Had a reply from Australia regarding L Houghton but unfortunately Kay doesn’t know what her very distant relative did for a living.

One less on my ‘Wants’ list

For a long time I’ve been trying to find a set of four James Herriot titles in a sleeve but the only place I’d seen it was on a Canadian site. I’ve tried to order it several times with the following scenario. The seller says they’ve mislaid it, it then gets taken off their site only to reappear a few months later so I’d try and order again with the seller saying they’d mislaid …. you get the idea. So I was really pleased when another one appeared on a different Canadian site and I was so carried away I even paid the extortionate postage costs. The books inside are interesting in that they are printed in Canada and have something I’ve never seen before on the back namely the words ‘Litho’d in Canada’ Click HERE to see them.

Sorry for the short blog again but other things have taken priority over PAN books. I know that’s hard to believe but we’ve had great news this week. We have been campaigning for several years to get a disused railway opened up as a leisure greenway and after a meeting yesterday we’ve been given the go ahead subject to forming a ‘Friends of’ type of group with a proper plan for the future. If anyone is interested you can find us at ‘Back The Track’ All ‘likes’ on Facebook gratefully received.

…. and finally I’ve managed to appear on TV reading the weather forecast at last. OK it’s not for real just a bit of fun at the BBC Studios but it’s certainly not as easy as it appears. The chart was definitely not from that day as a coat was still needed inside and out.

What’s Cooking This Week?

Having been away for a few days this week it will be a short blog but with a fair bit of content. We returned to the ‘Back to Back’ houses in Birmingham where last year we stayed in a ‘Victorian cottage’ and this year we jumped forward 30 years to a 1930’s one. If you’ve not been they are well worth a visit even if not staying but if you do it is ideal for getting to almost everywhere in the centre of Birmingham with the Hippodrome Theatre literally across the road. We went to see the musical ‘Billy Elliot’ which was very entertaining.Mind you it wasn’t all peace and quiet, this is the view from our window after being woken up at 3:11 am by the ‘blues and twos’ No idea what was going on, got bored looking so went back to bed.

I was looking at ‘Learning to Cook’ by Marguerite Patten when a bookmark fell out. One side had conversion tables, the other a list of PAN cookery titles. I’ve found them all but the next challenge is to find the editions contemporary with the card as mine are all over the timescale. Looking in some of the books there are at lot longer lists of titles available on line from a few pence to a couple of pounds but why are sellers asking so much for ‘The Times Cookery Book’ some wanting three figure amounts!

‘Hammerhead’ and a couple of additions.

I’m always on the look out for PAN related material so when I saw a copy of ‘Hammerhead’ by Dynamite I had to get a copy. It is either a homage or a pastiche depending on your view point and this particular cover was apparently one of seven variants produced for part one. They don’t seemed to have replicated it for the other five parts of the story. It has what is meant to look like a sticker on the from saying CBLDF from which it gets it variant title and means ‘Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’ (my speller checker is a bit miffed by ‘defense’)

Talking of homage or pastiche HERE is a link to the Honeypot Designs blog (sometimes it asks if you want to continue, I’ve not found any problems so far) It shows several mashups for James Bond books, the challenge this week is to name all the original titles of the covers used! I’ll give you a starter ‘Dark Interlude’ by Peter Cheyney (If you do a search on the site for PAN you’ll get several more)

I’ve also added another Berkley edition of ‘The Return of Moriarty’ which was a lot later edition than the one I thought I’d bought. The challenge now is still to find the two from 1981 and ‘The Revenge of Moriarty’ from 1988.

I’ve also added one more cover by Jas.E. McConnell, namely ‘The Grand Sophy’ which brings the total so far up to eighteen.

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.