PAN Fans Club

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks, the blog for those that do judge a book by its cover. Main site is at or

PAN Fans Club - Let's talk about PAN paperbacks, the blog for those that do judge a book by its cover. Main site is at or

‘Bind Your Own’ Again, ‘Owls in the Family’ and ‘Deliverance’

After mentioning ‘BYO’ last week as a way to ruin your PAN paperbacks by making them into tacky hardbacks I hadn’t noticed that these had a write up in ‘PAN Record’ number 19 from May 1958.

This week the Hans Helweg sketches are from PAN’s children’s imprint Piccolo namely ‘Owls in the Family’ by Farley Mowat. It’s nice to see a clear full signature.

Just looking at how many editions PAN published of ‘Deliverance’ by James Dickey. I have four with two of them being linked to the film with the first tie-in edition being shown on some of the film posters. While checking if there were any more PANs this one came up, the 1973 Swedish edition published by Pan/Norstedt ISBN 9117321913. Norstedt used the PAN imprint but later dropped it, maybe it caused confusion?

“Seven Years in Tibet”, Elizabeth Byrd and Dinosaur Jokes.

I recently picked up a rebound copy of the PAN 1956 edition of ‘Seven Years in Tibet by Heirich Harrer which caught my eye as it wasn’t the usual amateur job such as BYO (Bind Your Own) but a professional looking one. It has a sticker inside saying it was rebound as a hardback in Hong Kong. PAN released four different editions between 1956 and 1974 and not always with more attractive covers especially not the 1974 edition!

This weeks drawings by Hans Helweg are for ‘Immortal Queen’ by Elizabeth Byrd. Wikipedia says ‘Elizabeth Byrd (December 8, 1912 – May 11, 1989) was an American author. Her main body of work is historical fiction, and her most successful novel is Immortal Queen, a historical romance about Mary, Queen of Scots. Nine of her thirteen novels were published while she was living in Scotland” PAN published seven of her titles.

I was once told it cost a lot of money to produce books with things like the bullet holes or film sprocket holes for James Bond titles or the shape of a tombstone for the Grave Humour titles so I was surprised to find ‘The Dinosaur Joke Book’ was not a straightforward shape with the top rounded off.

‘Screaming’, Steinbeck and Rival Logos!

Is there some reason that the few copies of ‘And Now The Screaming Starts’ by David Case from 1973 that I’ve found appear to be a) expensive and b) in awful condition or is it just me? This was originally published as Fengriffen but not by PAN. This is my copy which has been much improved(!) in PhotoShop.

This weeks Hans Helweg’s sketches and maquettes are for ‘Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck. I’ve included later copies with artwork by John Walsh and Brian Sanders. Annoyingly, after much hunting, I cannot find my copy by Brian so have not been able to include a decent scan. I thought I had found another copy on a French site and on checking was told it was, as stated in the description, with a cover by Brian so why when it arrived was it the one with a cover by Walsh? How hard can it be to get this right and it now involves me sending it back, I’m wondering if it will be as easy now with customs etc. we have left the EU. As I have said many times I did NOT vote to leave.

This might be just me but I’ve only just noticed the logo for the Fontana children’s imprint ‘Fanfare’  next to the one for PAN’s ‘Piccolo’ have a similar musical theme. As I said it might just be me ……..! I’ve tried to find out which came first and so far ‘Piccolo’ wins as they started in 1971 while the earliest titles I’ve found from ‘Fanfare’ are dated 1972, a couple of  ‘Tamworth Pig’ stories by Gene Kemp.

Hans Helweg’s ‘Shutes’, Evan Hunter and ‘Cover Me’

Amongst the many sketches I have in Hans Helweg’s folders are several for Nevil Shute covers. I’m starting to compile a page featuring Hans’ Shute covers and the preliminary sketches and paintings that go with them which can be seen HERE. With them not being signed, well not obviously although he did put in the occasional HH, I’ve used the sketches, paintings I have or where in his workshop, the printers proofs he had on file and his list he made of the covers he could remember. I was pleased to find X117 was one of his as he had a printers proof for the 1962 edition and in his list he says the 1968 version is listed as a Redo.

A while ago, while featuring Ed McBain I mentioned that he was really Evan Hunter and PAN only published one title  under this name, Nobody Knew They Were There’  Now I know you’ll find this hard to believe(!) but I was wrong and have found another one and I think there may be more plus he also wrote as Richard Marsten so ‘The Spiked Heel’ was another published by PAN. It says ‘Come Winter‘ is the sequel to ‘Last Summer’ although this latter title wasn’t published by PAN.

After including the obituary of David Larkin from the Macmillan magazine last week, this issue also included a write up onCover Me’ by Colin Larkin published by ‘TELOS’

Cecil Vieweg, Pat Owen and David Larkin

It nice to keep in touch with artists and in this case it’s Cecil Vieweg. I recently came across his original artwork for one of the 32 cards inserted into packs of cigars. There is a very fetching photo of Cecil on the back of the folder with him holding another of the cards. I have added the artwork and the card (although not PAN) to the bottom of his page. Cecil has also promised me a CD of some of his preliminary sketches so looking forward to that arrive soon.

For a long time I’ve tried to track down Pat Owen once resorting to ringing all the P Owens along the south coast without success but I did have some interesting conversations! . Fortunately Kathy Ford, Sam Peffer’s great niece, pointed me in the right direction and if I had known his first name was actually Cyril I’d have found him much sooner. Unfortunately Pat passed away on the 26th May 2017 but I am in contact with Sue, his widow, who sent me an a article that appeared on the news letter of the ‘Guild of Aviation Artist’ of which Pat was a member. I hope they don’t mind me including it here. I need to sort out a page for him and will put one on the site ASAP but in the meantime HERE is the link to an article featuring Pat and Sam which I put on the site quite a while ago with kind permission of Steve Chibnall.

As I have mentioned previously David Larkin passed away last year. His brother Colin wrote an obituary for the Macmillan newsletter which I am now allowed to include here as it has now been published. Thanks to Colin for letting me have a copy. Click HERE to view as a PDF

Jackie Collins, ‘Castle Ugly’ and ‘I leap Over the Wall’

Although I have yet to read all of a novel by Jackie Collins I have mentioned her several times as she was one of PAN’s best selling authors receiving 9 (?) ‘Golden PAN Award’s for selling a million copies each of 9 titles. I am currently trying to track down all the editions with covers by George Sharp from around the late 1980s but again the old problem of no image from a seller and the same text block and date used for several editions. These are ones I have or have found on the web so far HERE but if you can help with others please get in touch. Some of the dates also need double checking as they are outside the range for this series. I contacted George to ask him about them and he said “As for the covers I did for Jackie Collins I can only remember one or two of them. My son Ben has the original artwork of one hanging in his office. I like it a lot! Jackie was a most likeable person, very relaxed and natural. Everyone liked her” Photo below shows George on Jackie’s left.

While going through the list of Hans Helweg covers I found one listed as ‘Castle Ugly’ which was not a familiar title. I know the list says they are PANs but I have also found there are a few from other publishers and magazine illustrations. Luckily I found one copy online from Maurice at Zardoz and was really pleased with the condition when it arrive but a bit disappointed with the artwork on the cover although it is clearly signed H.Helweg so Hans liked it as he didn’t sign all his work. As far as I can tell PAN only published this one title from Mary Ellin Barrett (born November 25th 1926) who was the daughter of composer Irving Berlin.

This weeks sketches from Han’s folders are for ‘I Leap Over the Wall’ by Monica Baldwin of which PAN published many editions with cover variants. Han’s cover goes with the 1971 edition.

Higgins Covers, Signed Penelope Lively and ‘Immortal Queen’

I’m always on the look out for more variants of Jack Higgin’s covers and spotted these two on an Indian website where they were shown as ‘SOLD’ I’ve not see either before as ‘A Season in Hell’  usually has a blue background) and Confessional’ is a new one altogether. Just wondering if anyone has got either so I can get a good quality scan and publication date?

Always a pleasant surprise to find a book that you get for a few pence turns out to be signed as in this case one by Penelope Lively.

While going through Hans Helweg’s drawings one that jumped out was for ‘Immortal Queen’ by Elizabeth Byrd. I have included two but I’m not sure if one is for the same book or if it reminds me of another cover I’ve not recalled it yet. Sarah Elizabeth Evelyn Byrd was born on December 8th 1912  in St. Louis, Missouri and died on May 11th 1989 in Tucson, Arizona. She had many jobs in broadcasting and journalism before moving to Aberdeen, Scotland. She wrote 13 books altogether of which PAN published 7.

FOOTNOTE: I bought a book from Antikvárium in Hungary and after a couple of weeks received an email to say due to the rising levels of COVID in the UK and to protect their workers they were no longer posting to here. I emailed back to say “Sorry, what?” but no reply. Am I missing something?

UPDATE As I was having problems with the default ‘comments’ option I have added in ‘wpDiscuz’ which appears to be working and all previous comments are now showing. This uses the existing ‘comments’ button but has a squillion more options so it will be a work in progress while I fine tune it. Reasonably happy with it so far apart from everyone seems to get the PAN Avatar!

Mystery Cover Solved, ‘Flash’ Titles and Wilbur Smith

Three blogs ago I posted a ‘rough’ of a cover by Hans Helweg and asked if anyone recognised it? Well I very pleased to say Tony Whitehorn emailed; “On your 28 Dec blog you showed a rough of a Helweg cover and asked if anyone could identify which book it was for. In case no one else has done so yet, I can tell you, because I wrote the blurbs for it and still have the cover, though not the book. It was for TO LIVE IN DANGER’ by Bryan Magee (Pan X184), which I remember as being a good thriller” Tony was featured in another blog HERE

I have been collecting up the Piccolo books I have called ‘FLASH’ titles as they have one across the cover. They are mainly jokes, riddles, limericks, poems and ‘funny’ newspaper cuttings and can be seen HERE. There are several other titles in the same genre but without the ‘flash’ and I’ve added a couple on the page. There are a few more titles I will add if I come across them but they are not that high on my priority list!

I was really pleased to find some preliminary sketches from Hans Helweg for his Wiibur Smith covers. I’ve added them to the page I made for him and his ‘Golden Pan Award’ I also found three photographs of Smith in his study that I added at the bottom and if you look carefully you can just about see the award on his desk.

Denys Parsons, ‘Miss Silver’, ‘Belle Catherine’

Denys Parsons collected together items from papers of mistakes, misquotes and double entendres. He was the grandson of actor-manager Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree. and originally worked in the field of scientific research and invention. He then became a film-maker and finally ended up as the Press Officer for the British Library. Click HERE to see the his PAN/Piccolo titles.

PAN published four of the thirty two ‘Miss Silver’ titles by Patricia Wentworth including ‘Pilgrim’s Rest’ from 1953 with artwork by Sax (Rudolph Michael Sachs) Hodder reused it for their 2007 edition of the same title but did not really do it justice. The other titles are ‘Miss Silver Comes to Stay’, ‘The Clock Strikes Twelve’ and ‘Grey Mask’

This week is the last of the Hans Helweg artworks I got back in October but I do have a lot more of his sketches for covers that I will add if I can identify them. The artwork is for ‘Belle Catherine’ by Juliette Benzoni from 1968 for which Hans got paid £58.16. He is also painted the cover for ‘Catherine and Arnaud’ as in this photo I took in his studio. I’m not sure who painted the later edition of ‘Belle Catherine’ but it looks like it could be John Raynes?

‘H.H.G.T.T.G’ Boxed Set, ‘A Taste of England’, ‘Death Is Our Playmate’

Having acquired, over the years, several boxed sets containing different numbers of titles from theThe Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy’ I was pleased to find the above on a site in the States as I didn’t have one with just the first three titles. I’m not sure of the exact date of publishing although it will be ’42’ years in 2021 since PAN first published book one on the 12th October 1979.

Another boxed set but with a different subject this time, namely cooking and it contains three titles in the ‘A Taste of England’ series of recipe books. They appear to be the standard UK PAN editions but put in a slip case for an American company ‘LANDS’ END DIRECT MERCHANTS, INC’ with a trade mark registered in 1984.

This weeks artwork by Hans Helweg is ‘Death Is Our Playmate’ by Patrick Turnbull. I also found a few preliminary sketches by Hans to go with it. I found a photo of Patrick in ‘Argosy’ magazine plus just a few details of his life. Patrick Edward Xenophon Turnbull was born on 17 March 1908 in Barberton, Mpumalanga, South Africa, his father, Hugh, was 28 and his mother, Ethel, was 28. He spent many years in the army off and on and was married four times and had three children. He died on 23 March 1986 in Chilton, Oxfordshire at the age of 78.