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

‘Portrait of a Young Man Drowning’, ‘Testament’ and ‘Sherlock’

This weeks artwork by Hans Helweg is Portrait of a Young Man Drowning’ by Charles Perry (1924–1969) He was an African American author who was born in Savannah, Georgia. This was his only published novel intended as a homage to James Joyce’s ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ The book was made into the film ‘Six Ways to Sunday’ from 1997 staring Debbie Harry and Isaac Hayes.

Having mentioned ‘Testament’ by David Morrell before, I was interested to see a copy of ‘Testament – The Unpublished Prologues’ on offer but as usual I should have done a little more research. The seller listed it as by PAN so I bought it but turns out it is from Subterranean Press but on the plus side it is a signed limited edition so one for the archives.

Another bit of ephemera I found was a bookmark listing several Sherlock Holmes titles now in ‘uniform editions’

Although it lists ‘The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes’ and ‘The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes’ I can’t seem to find any record of PAN actually publishing ‘Casebook’ in the mid 70s but ‘Memoirs’ is listed in a box set that is supposedly ‘in the post’ to me from the US as I type, I’ll update if it arrives but if any one can help with the other title …..?

‘Cover Me’, Raymond Chandler Matchbook, ‘Christy’ and an Update.

After 30 years of planning and research I am really pleased to see that ‘Cover Me’ by Colin Larkin is NOW available to purchase from Telos Publishing I have to declare an interest as I’ve know about this since 2004 and I am credited as Chief Consultant. I don’t think I’m down for a cut (am I Colin?) but in spite of that I would recommend you buy a copy anyway. Colin has used his extensive collection of nearly 600 original artworks as the basis and the focus is on the artists themselves. I have read it at least twice since then and really enjoyed immersing myself in those high quality images that leap off the page. Colin has produced a magnificent work that does justice to all those unsung, well up to now, heroes of the paint brush. I managed to put Colin in touch with artist Derek Stowe, Kathy Ford (Sam Peffer’s Great Niece) and he has also used some of my biography of Hans Helweg plus there are plenty of plugs for the website. The cover is based on The D.A. Takes a Chance’ by Sam ‘PEFF’ Peffer and the photo below shows Kitty posing on their own bed and candlewick bedspread.

I like it when I come across something PAN books related especially if it’s ephemera that would normally be thrown in a bin. This time it was a matchbook with some Raymond Chandler titles listed on the inside and a quote from ‘Farewell My Lovely’  on the outside. The quote is a bit odd in that as far as I can tell PAN never published this title! Click on the matchbook to see the the other side.

The matchbook was made by Bouldens of Southampton (choose Bouldens in the drop down manufacturer link) who specialised in these. It seems odd they mainly produced them for local hostelries but surprisingly the ‘House of Commons’ although not other national companies like PAN. I wonder if they did any others?

I hadn’t noticed until I went to scan the section from the book that the text in that and on the matchbook is slightly different as in one the barman ‘stooped’ but in the other he ‘stopped’ The former is the correct version.

This weeks piece of original artwork from Hans Helweg I recently acquired is for ‘Christy’ by Catherine Marshall. As far as I can ascertain this is the only one of her books published by PAN although they list three others on the back. Her full name was Catherine Sarah Wood Marshall LeSourd (27/09/1914 to 18/03/1983) and she wrote over thirty works of fiction and non fiction with ‘A Man Called Peter‘ made into a film in 1955 and ‘Christy’ a TV Movie and Series in 1994.

Just heard last night from Kathy Ford (Sam Peffer’s Great Niece) to say she was successful in her trip to Islington on the 3rd of November which would have been Sam’s 99th Birthday. She wrote All went smoothly with reuniting Kit and Sam. The weather was dry and sunny and not too cold.  I attach a pic of the headstone and flowers following the interment. Kit loved sweet peas and lily of the valley which she cut from the garden and dotted round the house in vases when they were in bloom, I can still remember the perfume from them” RIP Sam and Kathy


‘The White Rabbit’, Paul Davis and RIP Scruff

This weeks artwork from Hans Helweg is for ‘The White Rabbit’ the story of Wind Commander F F E Yeo Thomas by Bruce Marshall. I was pleased to see it was one of the few where Hans signature is quite obvious often having to search for a little HH hidden away somewhere. The acetate overlay has not stood the test of time well becoming very dark, like most of them from the 1960’s, but at least it is still attached. The artwork underneath appears as fresh and vibrant as it probably was when it was painted.

In one of those weird coincidences I heard from artist Paul Davies in Cheltenham, which was also where the Helweg artwork came from, to say he has published two books in support of a local charity, Longfield.. He is selling them at cost and if you are interested you can find details HERE.

Last week was a sad one in that we had to make the decision as to whether or not to have our elderly cat Scruff, who was in his late teens, put to sleep. The saddest part was he was still lively but just couldn’t eat due to problems with his kidneys and ulcers related to this. We like to think, that since he decided we would do as a home in 2009, he made the most of his time with us. Here is Scruff, the black and white one, with his possible daughter behind him, the mother of the daughter in the foreground and ‘Lady’ the fox. We’ll all really miss your Scruff. XXX

Sam and Kitty Peffer, Alexander Cordell and Invisible Ink!

I heard from Kathy, Sam and Kitty Peffer’s Great Niece last week to say “Next week we are finally able to lay Kit to rest, next to her Sam, on his 99th birthday. Am not looking forward to the day, especially as I have to do the round trip to Islington Crematorium without being able to stop. I will be able to relax more knowing they are reunited” Sam was born on the 3rd November 1921 in Islington. He designed his memorial stone and left room for Kitty to be added when eventually the day would sadly come.

This weeks Hans Helweg artwork is not one but three covers all for the same author. George Alexander Graber (9 September 1914 – c. 9 July 1997) was born in Ceylon and died in Denbighshire and wrote under the pen name of Alexander Cordell. He was a prolific Welsh novelist and author of thirty acclaimed works which includes the ‘Welsh Trilogy’ published by PAN along with another three titles. My three artworks are the ones HERE that have a border with instructions around them which is part of their attraction.

If anyone could help there are several Invisible Ink books I would like to get including;
Codebreakers Deborah Manley
0330 295624 1986

Crazy Cook Anni Axworthy
0330 283774 1984

Galactic Invaders Naomi Games
0330 283782 1984

Invaders in Space Naomi Games
0330 286986 1985

Animal Magic Naomi Games
0330 295632 1986

Treasure Hunt Scoular Anderson
0330 303856 1988

Mystery Pictures 1 Michael Holt
0330 266543 1982

Mystery Pictures 2 Michael Holt
0330 280775 1983

Number Games 1 Michael Holt
0330 267493 1982

Number Games 2 Michael Holt
0330 281348 1983

Dinosaur Puzzle Book Richard Dawson
0330 303813 1988

Puzzle Book of Monsters Alison Boyle
0330 303821 1988

Animal Counting Book Deborah Manley
0330 303872 1988

Crazy Haunted Castle Peter Sims
0330 304658 1988

Christmas Fun Book Deborah Manley
0330 304666 1988

Zoo Fun Book Richard Dawson
0330 305166 1988

Spotty and Striped Puzzle Book Naomi Games
0330 298038 1987

Amazing Animal Puzzle Book Groom
0330 30383X 1988

Secret Agent’s Puzzle Book Alison Boyle
0330 303848 1988

A.B.C.Fun Book Deborah Manley
0330 303864 1988
I though I had found the ‘Spotty and Striped Puzzle Book’ but even though the seller told me it was available and they had posted it, it suddenly became unavailable as it was not up to their usual high standard. From some I’ve had off them it has never stopped them before! On the plus side I did find ‘Word Games 2’ so I’ve added it to the page HERE

Steve Chibnall, Pamela Bell and Hans Artwork Number 2

A bit like buses, you wait for one then two come along at once or in this case books. I was contacted recently by Steve Chibnall asking if I could put him in touch with the daughter of a cover artist I had mentioned in a blog as he had been commissioned to write a book on him.  I asked her if she was happy with this which she was but it then turns out she has just written a forward for another book on her father’s work!
Steve may have not been too happy to hear this but I came out of it very well with Steve kindly offering me some PAN point-of-sale  materials for a very reasonable price. These consist of three book standees and a ‘Whiteoaks’ cards. Now if only some one who has one for ‘Book of the Month’ wants to sell it ……!

Since having recently acquired the Kevin Tweddell triptych for Pamela Belle’s ‘Heron’ series I have been in communication via Messenger and she has very kindly sent me a couple of copies of her books from her collection as they have the title in a straight style of font rather than a cursive one. This now means I now have 8 of the 9 nine different editions. These are 5 of 6  from PAN and 3 later hardback from Severn House (PAN may have also used it for their hardback editions but not sure)  that used the Tweddell artwork, just ‘Alathea’ with the title in a cursive script to go.

This weeks artwork by Hans Helweg is slightly damaged in that it has lost a couple of inches off it’s top! It’s ‘Love Let Me Not Hunger’ by Paul Gallico for which Hans was paid £50. Just looking at the book cover as opposed to the artwork you cannot really appreciate how much skill has gone into painting the couple in the foreground.

‘Fiesta’, James Barlow and Hans Helweg

I recently spotted an edition of Ernest Hemingway’s ‘Fiesta’ or ‘The Sun Also Rises’ (the US title used for the film) which I thought I had but on looking on the shelves found I hadn’t. I’ve now got a copy and added it to the website which now makes nine different/variant covers from 1949 to 1974. I often wonder why PAN felt the need to change some covers while happily used the same one on other titles for many years, I’m think of the ‘PAN Book of Card Games’ which was used from 1960 through to the early 90s.

Well my ‘Author of the Week’ idea didn’t last long so it is now changed to ‘Random Author’ when I remember! This time it is James Henry Stanley Barlow who was born on the 1st December 1921 in Kings Norton, Birmingham which I didn’t know. Nice to find a local author from only a few miles away. In 1939 he was even closer when he moved to 51 Crossway Lane, Kingstanding and was employed as a meter clerk with the Birmingham Corporation Water Department as was my uncle, I wonder if they ever met? After travelling around, including Australia, he finally moved to Beechmount, Sarsfield Court, Glanmire, Cork where he died on the 30th January 1973. He is buried in St. Lappans Church, Little Island, Co. Cork. As far as I can ascertain PAN published six of his thirteen titles. Click HERE to see these titles.

Popped down to Cheltenham to pick up several original cover artworks by Hans Helweg. I managed to do it before the new travel restrictions came in – my wife always said it would all end in tiers!. I shall be adding them over the next few wekss and HERE is the first one. This one was a ‘freebie’ as the paint is flaking so I’ve kept it in a cellophane sleeve but does anyone know how to stabilise it?

Keith Scaife Update, Brian Sanders and Tony Whitehorn

After visiting Keith Scaife recently I put together a page showing the original artworks for his ‘Jack Higgins’ covers using photographs I took. It wasn’t until Keith sent me much better photographs that I realised I had forgotten one! Click HERE to see the page which now has ‘Dillinger’ and the other covers as photographed by Keith.

It’s odd how Google will suggest random things based on searches but from a while ago. Having mentioned Brian Sanders recently, due to the sad loss of Lizzie, it decided I was interested in the stamps Brian designed – and surprisingly I was! I think it was five sets for the UK plus others for countries around the world. The five subjects here were British Police, Fishing, Youth Organisations, RAF and The British Council. Looking on eBay I cannot understand how sellers can make money as I bought all five sets for between 99p and £1.50 each including postage. The face value of one mint set bought for 99p comes to £1.04 and they can still be used legally so definitely quids in. I’m added then to Brian’s Page as they arrive in the post.

Having mentioned Tony Whitehorn, the ‘blurb’ writer at PAN in the early 60’s I can now put a face to the name as thanks to Tony and his son Stephen his reminiscences now have a couple of photos. One is from his days at PAN while the other is from a couple of years ago. In emails Tony mentioned another couple of titles he particularly remembers. Of the first he says “The most important copy of course was that on the back cover, which with the artwork was the main means of selling the book. With crime fiction I often tried to create a sense of foreboding, sometimes by painting an innocuous, even idyllic, scene before subverting it with a disturbing note — as with ‘Evil Under the Sun’, one of the best Christies” Regarding the second title Tony says “I remember that the last ever blurb I wrote for Pan was on my last day. It was for another Alan Burgess book, ‘The Lovely Sergeant” Tony is not very well at the moment so we wish him all the best for a speedy recovery.
UPDATE Just heard from Steven Kennedy, the editor of ‘Macmillan Together’ who kindly sent a copy of Tony’s article as it appeared in the magazine. Click HERE to see it.

Colour Blind?, Signed Pamela Belle and Jules Videos

A few people round our way need to test their colour vision after the traffic lights sequence on the local common was changed resulting in several accidents. Red means ‘STOP’ and green means you can ‘GO’! When I saw ‘The Luscher Colour Test’ I thought great but it turns out not to be about colour blindness but is more trying to analyse you from your colour choices. Most of the suggestions tend to be on the depressing side!

Having recently acquired the original artwork by Kevin Tweddell for Pamela Belle’s ‘Heron’ series trilogy I couldn’t resist buying a bundle of her titles including a couple of signed copies. The PAN title is Moon in the Water’ while the other is a hardback edition of ‘Survival of the Free’ signed by all the ‘Belles’ I contacted Pamela to check this and she kindly replied;
“Hi, Tim, sorry for the delay in replying, I’ve been busy writing! I didn’t know there was a Pan Paperback Collectors group – do you aim to collect every variation of every book? Quite a task, I think! With regard to the identity of ‘Diana’, I suspect that was my mother’s great friend who lived in Edinburgh (I can’t remember her surname, I only met her once, when I was 10). She died quite a long time ago, well before my mother (who died in 2005) and she and her husband had no children, so I’m not sure who had the books after they passed on. I think I must have changed the note about the poems, and then my mother sent the books to Diana as a gift. Sylvia and Brian Belle were my parents, and Penelope is my sister. I hope this helps, if you would like to know anything else then let me know”
In the photo Pamela is holding the hardback edition of ‘The Chains of Fate’ which was published by PAN and later Severn House Publishing with the same Kevin Tweddell cover artwork as the paperbacks

For some reason or other, while watching a recent episode of ‘Bargain Hunt’ (weird watching it with COVID social distancing in place) I was reminded of Jules Burt and his videos, now why could that have been? I have studied it intensely and still cannot see a PAN.

If you have not yet found Jules videos then you certainly should have a look as they cover so many different topics and several are PAN books related. Here are direct links to a few of them;

1) PAN Numbers 1 to 100
2) PAN Numbers 101 to 200
3) PAN Numbers 201 to 300
4) PAN Numbers 301 to 439
5) PAN Numbers G1 to G125
6) PAN Numbers G126 to G250
7) PAN Numbers G251 to G400

There are many more PAN related topics and new videos are appearing three times a week so make sure you visit often.

Gold ‘Jaws’, A Couple Of ‘Ms’ And Johnny Mains

I always thought I had a copy of this PAN 1975 edition of ‘JAWS’ on the shelf but when I went to find it to rescan it was not there. I managed to get a copy off eBay at a very good price which turns out to have never been read and the embossed gold on the front is particularly vivid, the photo doesn’t do it justice. I’m sure I read somewhere this was an anniversary edition but no idea why as it is only the 17th printing from 1975?

Currently reorganising the shelves and randomly picking an author to scan their works. At the moment I seem to be in the ‘Ms’ and currently working my way through Ed McBain after May Mackintosh and Barbara Michaels. It’s very disappointing in that I’ve not actually discovered the artists but I could guess at a couple. I’m now adding these to the ‘PAN Later Editions’ tab on the Catalogue page as an author page rather than previously as individual titles.

I was really good to hear from an old acquaintance and fellow PAN Fan Johnny Mains.  He did so much to publicise the PAN Horror series including getting PAN to republish book one in May 2016. He emailed to tell me about what appears to be was one of those weird coincidences. Johnny was helping his brother-in-law remove an old shed and they discovered that part of the floor was actually a double sided wooden board advertising out of all publishers it could have been, PAN!

Johnny is going to clean it up and then varnish it. We hope we can meet up next year to catch up on all we’ve been up to over the last few years but who knows what may lie ahead?

Tony Whitehorn, Douglas Reeman and ‘Not As A Stranger’

I recently received comment on a blog from Tony Whitehorn to which I sent a reply by email. Tony was the chief blurb writer at PAN from January 1962 to November 1964 and he has very kindly written an article which will appear in the ‘Macmillan Together’ newsletter for former Pan and Macmillan staff but he has also let me have a copy which you can read HERE.

I asked Tony if he had a favourite ‘blurb and he replied “One of my favourite books, which I found exceptionally thrilling and moving, was Seven Men at Daybreak’ (I knew nothing of the Heydrich assassination then – cinema and television hadn’t yet made it well-known) and for that I decided to highlight the moment I had found most tense, that when the two brave Czechs waiting for Heydrich’s car saw it suddenly sweep into view”

This is the fifth and final title of the PANs I recently bought that were signed to members of staff at PAN. It is In Danger’s Hour’, one of the three Douglas Reeman titles I’ve found that have the PAN logo on the front. The artwork for all the titles is by Brian Sweet. I contacted Brian by phone, coincidentally almost two years ago to the day, asking if he knew where the artwork was? He said he have a look to see if he still had it but as I’ve not heard back I am presuming he wasn’t successful.

Still trying to find a 1969 copy of Morton Thmpson’s book Not As A Stranger’ but I did find there was a Signet title on which some of the stories in this was based.