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

Josephine Bott, JB’s Bond Video and Sophia Loren

A while ago I was lent a photo album belonging to Simon Bott, Alan Bott’s son and I scanned all the photos for future use. Unfortunately these were stored on a drive that died completely and I thought I had lost them but weirdly I’ve just come across one on another drive. It features Josephine Bott nee Blumenfeld holding at a guess Simon although the Bott’s had three children, one boy and two girls. I may have to grovel and ask if I can borrow the album again.

Jules Burt has produced another great video and this time looking at James Bond books of which over half are PAN editions. Click HERE to watch it. Jules mentions that ‘The Life of Ian Fleming’ by John Pearson is not a true first (around 19 minutes 30 seconds in) He is right in that a true first edition first printing is numbered E12 and not just E as on copies so many sellers claim is a first. The problem is the printing history is identical in both printings. It did take me a while to find a copy of with E12. Also there is a difference on the back cover including where the price has gone up 5c in New Zealand!

Looking at ‘The Flood‘ by John Creasey published by Hodder and Stoughton I thought the lady on the front cover looked familiar. She must be based on Sophia Loren as has already appeared on ‘The Boy on a Dolphin’ in similar pose.

Berkley Horror, Jean Plaidy and Women Pilots

I think I may have asked this before but does anyone know if there was ever books 1 and 2 in the Berkley series ‘Selections from the PAN Book of Horror Stories’? I have the Fawcett selection published in 1966 in their Gold Medal series which is sometimes listed as number 1 but they didn’t do any others as far as I can ascertain.

I’m sure this must be the last Jean Plaidy trilogy but I’ve said that before. This time it’s the Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain series. As to covers artists it would be a guess. Jean Plaidy was one of the pen names of Eleanor Alice Hibbert (née Burford; 1 September 1906 – 18 January 1993) who was an English writer of historical romances. She was a prolific writer who published several books a year in different literary genres, each genre under a different pen name: Jean Plaidy for fictionalized history of European royalty, Victoria Holt for gothic romances, and Philippa Carr for a multi-generational family saga. She also wrote light romances, crime novels, murder mysteries and thrillers under pseudonyms Eleanor Burford, Elbur Ford, Kathleen Kellow, Anna Percival, and Ellalice Tate.

It was only four blogs ago I mentioned Jackie Moggerridge, who was a Spitfire pilot during the war, and told her story in ‘Woman Pilot’ Now I don’t know if it is just a coincidence or that Royal Mail read my blog (ha ha) but last week on the 5th they issued a set of four stamps to commemorate the ladies who did such sterling work under arduous conditions.

Lizzie Moyes, ‘World’s End’ and ‘Raintree County’

Trying to find cover artists can be quite a challenge sometimes but luckily Macmillan and PAN are from the same company and have been know to share the same artwork. I had a PAN copy of ‘Harvest of the Sun’ by E. V. Thompson but it didn’t give a cover credit but on looking at the same artwork on the hardback edition it gave me a familiar name, Liz Moyes. I emailed Brian Sanders to ask if he knew of any other Thompson covers Lizzie might have painted but we drew a bank although he did tell me it was Clare Davies on the right centre cover of Lizzie’s trilogy. With ‘Cassie’ it was reversed in that the PAN edition named Cecil Vieweg while the Macmillan didn’t but it did have a wrap round cover. Just to complete the set as it were Chase The Wind’ credits Gordon Crabb on both editions. I have 20 issues of the E. V. Thompson newsletter and clicking on the roundel will show the first page of issue one. 

After mentioning ‘The House at World’s End’ last week I came across the hardback edition which had very long inscriptions by both Monica Dickens and her daughter Pamela. I’ve put the scan on the same page as the Piccolo edition with the cover by artist Peter Charles of whom we still know nothing apart from he might have been American. This could account for why there are so few covers by him on UK editions. Any PAN Fans in the States know anymore?

I like it when I find a cover I haven’t seen before and this time it was for the 1977 edition of Raintree County’ by David Tayler. It uses the same artwork as the 1958 edition with a few tweaks, so recycling nearly 20 years later.

Peter Cushing, John Raynes and Douglas Stuart

On our visit to the family in Kent last week we popped over to Whitstable for the day as they had a ‘town trail’ quiz for us to follow. What I did spot that was not included in it was a blue plaque on a house where Peter Cushing spent the last years of his life. This made me think of which covers featured Peter and so far I have only come up with two namely ‘The Man Who Finally Died’ and ‘Dr. Terror’s House of Horror’ Click on the plaque to see the house.

It was good to hear from Jim O’Brien again who was asking if I knew anything about artist Peter Charles who painted four covers for the ‘World’s End’ series. Sorry to say I don’t and searching doesn’t seem to throw up any useful answers, anyone out there who can help? Jim also mentioned he had got his article on John Raynes published in edition number 68 of ‘Illustration’ magazine from last summer. It’s a very good read especially as it features so many PAN covers plus a great picture of Sheila Raynes posing for a reference photo for ‘The Jesuit Trap’

I was pleased to get an email from Nicholas Blake to let me know PAN had awarded another of their ‘Golden PAN Awards’. This time to Douglas Stuart’ for his Booker Prize winning novel ‘Shuggie Bain’ which has now sold over a million copies. Douglas was presented with the award at a surprise ceremony on the 21st April. This just happened to be my wife’s birthday and I think I made it into her good books by giving her the original artwork for ‘Also Known As Sadzia! The Belly Dancer!‘ painted by Kay Hodges. which she had always said was one of her favourites.

‘Horror’ Letters, Jean Plaidy’s ‘Charles II’ and ‘Smilby’

Amongst the many items I acquired that were going to be included in the ‘PAN Book  of Horror Stories Scrapbook’ are several letters from Herbert van Thal to authors whose stories were either included or rejected. They are mostly from around the time of numbers books 14 to 17 and I have put a selection HERE

With a  few odd Plaidy titles to go I’ll add them to the site over the next few weeks so I can get them back on the shelves but I’m including Charles II’ as it is probably  the last series not featured up to now and has three titles. As usual most of the artists are unknow apart from ‘The Wandering Prince’ by Pat Owen although the other two are in the same style so could also be by him.

Francis Wilford-Smith (1927 to 2009) signed his work ‘Smilby’ which was contraction of his surname with his wife’s maiden name, Kilby. Wilford-Smith attended Warwick School and later the Camberwell School of Art in London, specialising in illustration and wood engraving. His cartoons have appeared in Punch, The New Yorker, Esquire, Playboy and the Saturday Evening Post. As far as I can tell he is only credited with one PAN cover Quote & Unquote’ I did wonder which came first, the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Quote… Unquote’ chaired by Nigel Rees and this book? It seems this book was first as the radio show wasn’t broadcast until the 4th January 1976 with the spin off books to follow. I was going to use a couple of examples of his cartoons but most of them are of a slightly saucy nature! (just Google his name!)

Jackie Moggridge, ‘Pavannes’ and ‘Picadors’, Hans Helweg and Ardizzone and RIP ‘Jack Higgins’

Jackie Moggridge was born Dolores Theresa Sorour; on the 1st March 1922 and died on the 7th January 2004. She was a pioneering pilot and the first woman to do a parachute jump in South Africa . Her ashes were due to be scattered from a Spitfire on the 7th April but it was postponed. It is interesting to see the same photo was used for the covers of all editions of her autobiography including PAN G238 ‘Woman Pilot’ painted by de Marco. Gerald Alexander Fahey (1919 to 1999) painted several covers for PAN but not under his real name but as de Marco. Fahey painted Sci/Fi covers in the fifties under his real name and one example is HERE I think his later covers were an improvement!

As promised here are a few ‘Pavanne’ and ‘Picador’ covers. The ‘Pavanne’ selection is from a style used around 1986 and has one which is not painted but is here as it includes my surname of which I have a small collection. The ‘Picadors’ are later but proof copies of which there seems to be an inordinate amount around. The majority of the ‘Pavanne’ covers are in ‘B’ format apart from the 1984 edition of ‘The Dud Avocado’ in ‘A’ format. I did order a 1986 edition which mysteriously got ‘lost in the post’ As this was the only copy I could find on the web I beginning to have my suspicions ……!!! I have included one back cover to show how they featured the writer and will do the others when I have time.

Always pleased to find another Hans Helweg and this time it’s for The Old Woman and her Pig’ in the Oxford University Press Structured Readers. Scroll down the page to see this and two more in the same series.

While Grandson William was visiting we were reading ‘Sarah and Simon and No Red Paint’ by Edward Ardizzone and I was taken by this drawing, it reminded me of my ‘library’

I was sorry to hear of the death of Henry ‘Harry’ Patterson (27/071929 to 09/04/2022) probably better know to PAN readers under his pen name of Jack Higgins. I have a couple of pages relating to his work with book covers HERE and Keith Scaife’s artwork HERE

Bookmark, Jules ‘Horror Books’ short video and ‘The Dark of the Sun’

It was lovely having the family up from Kent last week and with all the outings for Grandson William to Country Parks, Historic Buildings and Adventure Playgrounds there hasn’t been not much time for in depth blogging – no change there do I hear you say?

While looking through a copy of ‘The Dark of the Sun’ I was pleased when I found this in it making a change from the usual Prudential cards. It’s actually useful in that the end is perforated to tear off and cut to make a bookmark? It says you can get 5% interest which seems like a world away when you are lucky to get 0.05% these days.

Jules Burt has recently produced a short video looking at the 30 titles in the ‘PAN Book of Horror Stories’ series. This recommendation has nothing to do with the fact my website gets a name check! (Thanks Jules)

I hadn’t realised how many different editions of ‘The Dark of the Sun’ by Wilbur Smith PAN published since 1968 with several with the ‘PAN Man’ logo and at least three with the later ‘wavy lines’ I’ve only included the ones with the ‘Man’  and I am still trying to find the cover artist for the 1980 edition.

John Raynes, Pavanne /Picador and ‘White Spines’

While looking through some duplicates deciding which to pass on to a National Trust secondhand bookshop I found a postcard of French Chateaus. This reminded me of a piece of artwork I bought off eBay a couple of years ago by a well  known PAN cover artist, namely John Raynes. I was the only bidder and looking back it cost me £30 which was a real bargain as it came in a nice frame and the size (60cm x 30cm) means it fits perfectly over a door. Just Googling I’ve spotted several of John’s artworks around the mid £1,500 mark with one at nearly £6,000! Click on the postcard to see the artwork of the Chateau at Chinon.

PAN were quite consistent in naming their imprints beginning with ‘P’ with ‘Piccolo’ and ‘Young Piper’ for children’s titles and ‘Pavanne’, ‘Picador’ and ‘Piper’ for adult titles although ‘Picador’ could have been ‘Primrose’ as this was originally suggested. 
I’ve previously mentioned trying to findPavanne’ titles where the name is under the PAN logo before PAN used just the Pavanne name. I do like the artwork on some of the Pavanne’ titles but dislike others. I’ll add a few of my favourites shortly but here are a couple of ‘Pavanne’ tiles given away with ‘Options’ in 1983/4. When I saw ‘Options’ my first thought was the chocolate drink but probably more likely the magazine which started in 1982.

I emailed one of the artists who painted a cover for a ‘Pavanne’ title who rang me up the same day. They  asked me NOT to include their cover as they really didn’t like it and it was not the sort of thing they did now. I’ve promised not to name names!

Having watched Jules Burt’s latest excellent video of collectors talking about their collections I was obliged to buy a copy of ‘White Spines’ by Nicholas Royale as I was impressed to find another ‘Picador’ collector but on checking I only have a tenth of his 1,000 plus. With this year being the 50th anniversary of ‘Picador’ I’ve got out the sets published for their 30th anniversary set which had ‘XXX’ on the spines above ‘Picador’, the 40th anniversary set which had ’40’ under ‘Picador’ and the 50th anniversary set which had ‘Collection’ under ‘Picador’

Fishing, Nevil Shute and a miscellany from Lyn Kirby

Having got football out of the way a few weeks ago I am now going to do the same with another subject I’m not really into, namely fishing. I quite like the idea of using it as an excuse to sit on a bank and read a book but as for actually catching a fish this doesn’t really appeal. I know it is one of the most popular past times world wide so it’s probably just me. I think the first time PAN got into angling was in 1967 with the publication of ‘Fishing’ by Richard Arnold and numbered M203. It was around 1973 that PAN started the ‘PAN Angler’s Library’ of which I have found 14 titles label as such but there may be more.

There was a post on the ‘Shutists’ Facebook page where someone had noticed a mistake in the list of books by Nevil Shute in the 1973 6th printing of ‘An Old Captivity’ It includes ‘Gold From Crete’ which is by C S Forester and not Shute. I have looked in both the 5th and 7th printings and it is not there but I will looking in other titles from around that time.

Having written about Lyn Kirby, who worked at PAN in the 80s, she sent me a few snippets which I’m happy to include here;
1) Lyn’s boss was David Bleasdale, Production Director, and who was used as the model for the cover of ‘The Autobiography of Henry VIII’ which was painted by Gino d’Achille
2) When Lyn left she was presented with a dummy book of Douglas Adam’s latest in the Hitchhiker series ‘So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish’
3) Lyn was tasked with sourcing the lenticular picture on the box and the hardback of ‘So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish’ and as with most things plastic back then it probably came from Hong Kong.

4) Lyn was asked  to do the colour correction on the cover of Wicked Willie. She wrote “The pink of his face had to match the pink of his ahem, Willie and that was something I was a bit embarrassed about telling my repro house at my tender age!”
5) It’s a small world as Lyn is a room guide at Nuffield Place and you never know we may have met each other when we were down there recently for a family gathering.

‘Mandingo’, ‘The Karamanov Equations’ and Ben Ostrick

This weeks original artwork is for ‘Mandingo’ by Kyle Onstott that was used for at least five editions from 1961 through to 1974 when PAN changed to a film tie-in. I can’t find it listed in Hans Helweg’s ledger but he was getting paid £50 16s for other titles at this time. While looking at other editions from various publisher I was intrigued to see this 1963 Spanish edition printed by Luis de Caralt in Barcelona. I’d like to think it was done in homage to the one Hans painted  and not a poor quality ‘rip off’

While looking at the cover of The Karamanov Equations I was reminded of another couple of cover but may be not as close as I thought. I’ve also included a copy of the script for a film that never made it to the ‘big screen” I think this book by Marshall the only title of his that PAN published.

A couple of years ago I mentioned tracking down the location of a plaque for artist Ben Ostrick (who painted for PAN as J. Oval) and it turned out to be in Australia. This was a bit too far to go just to take a photo but I’m pleased to say a big “Thank you” to Olivia Wallace,​ Customer Care Support at Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park who kindly took the trouble to photograph the plaque for me. She apologised for it  as it was high up on the wall but there was no need as it is fine.