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

Three Artists, An Airport Bookstall and a ‘Not As A Stranger’ Update plus Bully!

I signed up to get the newsletter from artist agent Alison Eldred after being in contact regarding purchasing some artwork. I was pleased to see in the latest edition a couple of photos including this one featuring a trio of book cover artwork stalwarts namely Jim Burns, Fred Gambino and Keith Scaife at the Wallace Collection. Thanks to everyone for permission to use the photo.

John Smith recently added a video to a Facebook group page showing an unknown airport book stall from the film ‘The Driver’s Seat’ from 1973 based on the novella from Muriel Spark. The shot pans (how appropriate) across the titles but it is only at the start that I can spot four(?) PANs after many many viewings to find two of them are the same title. I can see ‘Death and the Sky Above’ twice by Andrew Garve and The Impossible Virgin’ by Peter O’Donnell and the hand and arm obscures and then picks up The Tenth Pan Book of Horror Stories’ In the last photo Elizabeth Taylor is being asked to chose between the van Thal and a James Hadley Chase title.

While looking for more material relating to ‘Not As A Stranger’ by Morton Thompson I came across this poster for the film but it was in Spanish. This made me look for other editions of the book not in English and managed to pick up a German copy, a French copy and a Spanish copy published in two volumes. Now I’m not sure how accurate Google translate is but I’ve added it’s translation of their tiles under the images I’ve scanned and added to the main page.

Having mentioned the Commonwealth Games last week we popped into Birmingham on Wednesday to have a ride on the Midland Metro trams new extension to Edgbaston but more importantly to see the bull that starred in the Games opening ceremony. It was certainly impressive and a very popular attraction especially when it moves and snorts smoke! Let’s hope he gets to stay in Birmingham as his future is still undecided.
UPDATE Just heard he will be staying in Centenary Square until end of September and then going to be in ….. ?

A ‘Commonwealth Connection’, ‘Brother John’ and Rudyard Kipling

With the Commonwealth Games currently taking place not a million miles from me I was interested to see the Commonwealth got a mention on this PAN poster from 50 years ago for the best window display in the UK and Commonwealth. As usual I am left asking “What happened to all that advertising material, not all of it could have ended up in the bin surely?” It took me a few seconds to get three of the four titles along the bottom namely A Start in Life’, The Persuaders’ and The Luscher Colour Test’ but Nicolas and Alexandra’ took a  little longer.

While browsing book covers I noticed an Avon title that looked familiar as it uses the same images as on the PAN edition. The book was ‘Brother John’, a story about an enigmatic African-American man who shows up every time a relative is about to die. When he returns to his Hackley, Alabama hometown as his sister is dying of cancer, it incites the suspicion of notable town officials. The book is based on the film from 1971 and stars Sidney Poitier as John Kane. The DVD uses the same image as the front of the book.

In the mid 80s PAN republished a lot of the Kipling titles with the same cover design but some as PAN in A format (110 mm x 178 mm) and some as Piccolo/Piper in B format (129 mm x 198 mm) The PAN tiles were adult themed and I think I’ve found them all but if not please let me know. Click HERE to see them. PS Is that a young Jacob Rees-Mogg on the right on Stalky and Co

A Great Find, Dashiell Hammett and ‘Cockleshell Heroes’

You can image how happy I was when I found this countertop display stand from around the 1950’s at an antiques centre in Stroud and at a price I was happy to pay especially as it included shipping. In the photo I’ve used PAN numbers 1 to 9 but may use it for the titles with dustjackets.

Having mentioned I had got behind with my scanning I’ve taken the opportunity of the ‘heat wave’ to stop inside where it is cooler and have now scanned all my Dashiell Hammett covers and related titles. PAN published only four of his five titles, not including ‘The Thin Man’ for some reason plus a couple of collections of short stories. I have grouped them by title and then printing rather than same themed covers together.

Having noticed it was the 80th anniversary of ‘Operation Frankton’ in December (I know it’s early but probably forget when we actually get there) I have scanned all my ‘Cockleshell Heroes’ editions as they tell the story of the operation. This was filmed in 1955 and at the back of the editions up tom 1970 there is an Appendix F which tells of the making but then gets dropped in future editions.

More Vonda, Crime Badges and Olga da Polga

As promised last week here are the rest of the PAN covers for Vonda Neel McIntyre (28/8/1948 – 1/4/2019) albeit only four in total.

I love eBay in that you never know what is going to turn up and last week it was 18 PAN Crime badges in an old tobacco tin.

PAN started to use this logo in the late 80s/early 90s and examples can be found on ‘Morse‘ titles and those by Paula Gosling, Sue Grafton and Julian Symons. amongst others.

This news item appeared in papers and online including illustrations of book covers but very disappointingly those by Catherine Rayner, no mention of Hans Helweg.
The BBC is to turn the adventures of Olga da Polga, the lovable guinea pig created by author Michael Bond, into a major series. First published in 1971, the Peruvian pet guinea pig with a wild imagination has lived in the shadow of her more famous South American compatriot. Based on his daughter’s first pet guinea pig Olga, and like Paddington, hailing from “darkest Peru”, Bond’s indomitable rodent charmed generations of children with her web of tall tales. BBC bosses, on a mission to discover new characters ripe for animation, rediscovered the illustrated Olga books following Bond’s death in 2017, aged 91. The 13 episode series will be produced by Scottish company Maramedia, featuring a “unique blend of live action with CG visual effects for the animals’ mouths, as well as colourful animation for Olga’s imaginative tales”
I’ve mentioned Hans name wherever there was a chance to comment  

Apology, Advertising, Cecil Vieweg and ‘Dreamsnake’

Having been away for a few days I’ve not had the time to scan a lot of material that I wanted to include but maybe at a later date. While down by Henley on Thames we visited Greys Court, a National Trust property once owned by Ian Flemings mother Evelyn (1934 to 37) but not a Bond in sight let alone a PAN so disappointingly nothing to add to PANs as seen at NT properties section. Apparently Ian’s name for his mother was ‘M’ On the plus side Henley was interesting in that it was the tail end of Regatta Week and everyone was very flamboyantly dressed. With some young ladies wearing very little I didn’t know where to look ……!

I was really pleased to pick up another advertising item which I’ve now added to the changing display on the front page of the website. It was not quite as good as it looks having some rubbing damage to the right hand side which I’ve covered up for the screen but will leave on the actual item as it is part of its history.

I was very happy to get an email from Cecil Vieweg as I hadn’t heard anything since I sent an email 6 months ago. He has not been too well but is on the mend and has promised to sort out more of his artwork to send me on CDs. He included a few but without labels. Now the challenge is to track them down but I think some are advertising or for Sunday papers. The one above shows Judge Roy Bean in an illustration for the story ‘The Hanging Judge’ but we’ve not sure where it might have been used, anyone help? I was wondering if possibly for an edition of Readers Digest Condensed Books? I’ve added the artwork to his page, as although not PAN, I like Cecil’s style.

When browsing in a local charity shop I was surprised to see that they were not all ‘chic lit’ books on the shelves but there was a solitary PAN S/F. I knew I had got a copy but this one had a sticker saying ‘Hugo Award Winner 1979’ On coming home I see it is more unusual for the book NOT to have the sticker and when I looked at my other copy I could see it did have one that has came off at sometime. It also says it was ‘Winner of the 1976 Nebula Award’ and a quick search shows it is quite common for a title to win the two. The book is ‘Dreamsnake’ by Vonda N. McIntyre with a cover by George Underwood. I’ll add the other Vonda titles for next week but neither she nor George feature greatly in PAN catalogues.

Gordon Crabb Part 2, du Maurier & PAN, Ian Fleming and an OOOOPS!

Having mentioned the couple of pieces of artwork by Gordon Crabb I was able to acquire recently here is the second one. It is a double, front and back, for ‘The Scapegoat’ by Daphne du Maurier. PAN published this title three time in nine years with different artwork each time, I think I was lucky to get the one I did as I’m not that enamored with the other two. I’ve also added a couple of non PAN covers from Gordon as I had them on a shelf. To see other du Maurier titles click HERE It was a bit of a coincidence that after mentioning ‘The Scapegoat’ I was looking through Margaret Forster’s book on ‘Daphne du Maurier’ to find any PAN references when I came across this one.

There were a couple of other references made about PAN by du Maurier in the book. The first is not a flattering one while the second shows she changed her tune when it came to money!

This is a bit reminiscent of Georgette Heyer who also felt paperbacks were very down market but eventually came around as PAN were now “producing really classy jobs”

Having just spotted another bookseller incorrectly claiming their edition of ‘The Life of Ian Fleming’ by John Pearson was a first edition first printing I thought I’d mention again that only a true first edition first printing has the number E12 on the front and spine. It doesn’t have the mention of Jan Pienkowski on the back plus the price is only 95c in New Zealand. I always think of Jan Pienkowski as the artist of several fantastic pop up books setting the trend for the many to follow back in the 70s and showing they were not just for children to enjoy. My children would probably say they best remember his ‘Meg and Mog’ books, a firm favourite of theirs and now of our grandson.

SORRY if you went to look for the blog early on last week but got the message about not being able to establish a link. What happened was the company that hosts my website said they couldn’t upgrade my database unless I changed the password. Not sure why but went and did it anyway only to then remember I needed to change the config for WordPress to the same password. Having failed to locate the config file due to ‘old age’ i.e. couldn’t remember where it was and having failed to successfully change the password back to what I thought it was I resorted to ringing the support line. All I can say was I’ll give them five stars as he was very patient and got me there in the end. I now feel very silly as I realised I did know where it was, I’d just not looked there.

Gordon Crabb, Printer’s Proofs and ‘Orlando the Marmalade Cat’

Having found some original artwork for a couple of PAN covers I enquired about the price and was very pleasantly surprised at what was being asked. It would have been rude to turn them down especially as they were coming directly from the artist himself, Gordon Crabb. His biography states Gordon was born in Richmond on Thames and studied at Twickenham College of Art. He graduated in Illustration (S.I.A.D.) and was first represented by the agency, Young Artists (later Arena) in London. He started by illustrating book covers for the UK publishing market then early in his career he visited New York with his illustration portfolio which resulted in working for many of the US publishers; firstly Bantam and Dell, but then also for Tor, Penguin, Avon, Pocket Books and Bookspan, largely for fantasy covers. He also produced many covers for Western novels and the original paintings became highly collectable. He sold them through galleries in Texas initially but now he sells directly to collectors. He has exhibited paintings, drawings, illustrations and prints in London, Cardiff, Manchester, New York, Connecticut, Texas and, of course, his home town of Aberystwyth. He currently works on the covers of many of the British bestselling historical fiction in the UK, and he’s well known for his attention to detail, particularly with the heroines and their costume. He has now built a library of stock images for this genre of fiction and this is used to great effect by many of the European publishers’ The first of the artworks is for The Snow Walker’ by Farley Mowat which I’ve put on page I’ve made for Gordon and I’ll show the other next week.

It was nearly two years ago that I was able to buy the original artwork for Pamela Belle’s ‘Heron’ series painted by the late Kevvin Tweddell thanks to his family who had it. It was only while tidying up the packaging last week I found I had also got the three printer’s proofs as above. 

PAN published two of the nineteen titles in the ”Orlando the Marmalade Cat’ series, written by Kathleen Hale (24/05/1898 – 26/01/2000) under their Piccolo imprint. I was looking at them with a mind to reading them to our Grandson when I began to wonder if anyone else thought them a bit strange but then again it could just be me?

‘Cover Me’, Piccolo Covers and ‘Gretta’ X 3

After mentioned the recently published paperback edition ofCover Me’ having an update which now includes a photo of Kitty Peffer posing for the cover I was really pleased to get a copy so I could check it out thanks to author Colin Larkin. Plus always nice to have a plug for the site.

By one of those strange coincidences I got an email from Kathy, Sam’s Great Niece’ the same day to say they had been having a tidy out and found the candlewick bedspread, as on the cover and photo, being used to cover some furniture and was I interested? I am now the proud owner of said bedspread and will pick it up next time I am down that way.

I still look out for Piccolo covers, PAN’s children’s imprint, as they are often by well know artists and this time it is a couple both called Alan namely Alan Cracknell (‘Rainy Day Ideas’ ) and Alan Lee (‘Bushrangers Bold’) the latter probably as the art director of ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘The Hobbit’ etc.

Having rescanned a cover of ‘Gretta’ by Erskine Caldwell for a recent blog I though it was a good opportunity to scan the others numbered G219. I am often left wondering why PAN felt the need to change the artwork so often, and not just a reprinting? I can understand for a film tie in or possibly a repricing which would need a new code letter (G as in G219 meant it was 2/6) but this is four covers over six years. Two of the covers are by Hans Helweg for which he got paid £42 (1960) and £50 16s (1965)

C. S. Forester, Digitising Negatives and ‘I Was Cicero’

I recently featured several ‘Hornblower’ titles by C. S. Forester so I thought I’d put a few more of the later ones on a page HERE. I’m not sure why PAN felt the need to change the covers so often but I’m happy as it makes the search for them more interesting.

After struggling to see what was on the several hundred negatives Kathy Ford kindly gave me by holding them up to the light I bit the bullet and bought a negative/slide digitiser. It was not the cheapest of items but as the negatives were in 120 format with sizes from 6×6 to 6×9 there wasn’t too much choice. It will also mean it will be a lot easier to digitize all the hundreds of 35mm slides we took in the 70’s when you had a family get together in the dark to subject them to what seemed like a never end show. The negative shown is of Kitty Peffer in a pose but for what cover? She is facing forward but on the cover backwards but same dress, gun and stance. Click on the photo for the answer.

Funnily enough the second strip of negatives I picked up to use with the digitiser proved to be of a cover of a book I already had but not identified previously from the negative. Although not PAN it still gets a place in the collection!

I recently got a email from Jules Burt asking if I had spotted that ‘I Was Cicero’ by Elyesa Bazna has two versions, one fat and one thin? I had to say I hadn’t only having one but as soon as it was pointed out I managed to get a copy of the one I didn’t have. I don’t know if one is rarer than the other as both seem to be readily available from sellers.

The covers back and front are the same as are the printing details but one has 192 pages, the other 176 plus the fat one has the photographs interspersed amongst the pages while the other has them all together in the middle.

‘Trouble in July’ Part 2, X or A?, ‘Cover Me’ and more Jules Videos

I recently mentioning the artwork for ‘Trouble In July’ that was up for sale and after some haggling where I think I probably spent a bit more than I wanted but the seller definitely got less than he wanted I now have it. I’ve still not found out if it was actually used for the 1964 edition but I’ve put it on a a page with other Caldwell titles from the same time and in the same style.

Having picked up a duplicate copy of ‘Death To The French’ trying to decide which was the copy to keep and which to donate to the National Trust I’m glad I had a good look. What I hadn’t noticed was that they have different price code letters on the spine with one being ‘X’ and one being ‘A’ The ‘X’ means it was priced at 3/6 while the ‘A’ was for 4/0 or 20p as it was on the cusp of decimalization. Now wondering how many more there may be like this and how many I may have given away!

Pleased to hear from Colin Larkin that his book Cover Me: The Vintage Art of Pan Books: 1950-1965″ is now available in paperback with a few minor corrections made including a sex change for ‘Bip’ Pares who was actually a woman namely Ethel Pares, She was born on 27th February 1904 in the Thames-side village of Clewer, just beyond Windsor. She was the second child of the marriage of Basil Pares (1869-1943) and his wife Caroline Evelyn Whistler (1874-1959), who had married in Norfolk in 1902. Her father was a younger son of the well-to-do family of John and Katharine Pares.

This photo is of Kitty Peffer posing for the cover of ‘The D. A. Takes a Chance’ which Colin tells me in now included in the second printing.

Jules Burt continues to upload his excellent videos and here are the links to a couple of recent ones. The first is all about ‘Vintage Book Resources’ and the second is showing dozens of Books Jules Has for Sale. Most are PANs with prices from £5 right down to £1 with quantity discounts and postage worldwide at cost.

The first link has nothing to do with the great plug Jules gives my website!
Thanks Jules.