I was sorry to read of the passing of another well know name in the genre of S/F. Brian Michael Stableford was born 25/07/1948 in Shipley, Yorkshire and died 24/01/2024 in Swansea. He was a British academic, critic and science fiction writer who published more than 70 novels, His earlier books were published under the name Brian M. Stableford, but later ones dropped the middle initial and appeared under the name Brian Stableford. PAN published at least seven of his novels including the six in the ‘Hooded Swan’ series.
Thank you once again to Rog Peyton for pointing out something I had not noticed. PAN X73 ‘Rape of the Fair Country’ by Alexander Cordell published in 1961 with artwork by David Tayler shares a part of the back cover with the front cover of PAN X152 ‘The Hosts of Rebecca’ also by Alexander Cordell.
Back in 2020 I posted a page of 56 John D Macdonald ‘Travis McGee’ covers hoping this was all of them but as usual I was wrong. I’ve now found another one, a 1982 edition of ‘The Empty Copper Sea’ just two years after the previous edition. The 1980 cover features a car while the 1982 has a semi clad lady, did PAN feel the need to ‘spice’ it up a little?
While looking at pages on Facebook I came across the artwork of Omer Atakan where he paints retro posters for films including several Bond titles. One in particular caught my eye as he has included a very familiar cover, ‘Goldfinger’, featuring the Pat Owen artwork.
John Winton was the pen name of John I Pratt (Winton was his mother’s maiden name) He was born 03/05/1931 in Hampstead London and had career in the Royal Navy in which he rose to Lieutenant-Commander serving in the Korean War and during the Suez Crisis. Whilst still in the Navy, he wrote six comic novels featuring Commander Robert Bollinger Badger DSC RN otherwise know as “The Artful Bodger” PAN published five of the titles in this series namely ‘We Joined the Navy’, ‘We Saw the Sea’, ‘Down the Hatch’, ‘Never Go to Sea’ and ‘All the Nice Girls’ but not the sixth ‘Good Enough for Nelson’ This weeks original artwork by Glenn Steward is for the fourth title but disappointingly it had been matted when framed and the matte stuck on with double sided sticky tape so it will have to remain as it is. ‘We Join the Navy’ was made into a film in 1962 with a movie poster painted by Tom William Chantrell.
PAN also published three other titles by John Winton of which two were fiction namely ‘The Fighting Téméraire’ and ‘HMS Leviathan’ while ‘Sink the Haguro!’ was non-fiction. Winton wrote a total of 14 fiction titles and 29 non-fiction titles if Wikipedia has them all listed correctly.
I was really pleased to hear from Paul Duncan that his opus ‘James Bond : Dr. No’ will be published by TASCHEN today (19th) Unfortunately the limited edition is a little beyond my price range so I will have to wait for the trade edition. Modesty forbids me mentioning I get a name check!
This weeks original artwork from Glenn Steward is for ‘Come Again Nurse’ by Jane Grant. Jane Grant was a pen name of the author (Evelyn) Barbara Blackburn Leader. She was born in Herefordshire on the 15th July 1898. She wrote 35 novels between 1926 and 1971. Her other pen names were Barbara Blackburn and Frances Castle (a joint pseudonym with Peggy Mundy-Castle). Barbara wrote four nurse books as Jane Grant namely ‘Come Hither Nurse’, ‘Come Again Nurse’, ‘Sisters Under Their Skins’ and ‘Round the Clock Nurse’ but only the first three were published by PAN. She died in Chelmsford in April 1981.
PAN were quick to bring out ‘A Royal Baby Book’ in hardback in 1981 shortly after the announcement that Princess Diana was expecting a child. They didn’t know what it might be so the filled half the book with photos of her and Charles and the other half were blank pages for you to stick in your own photos and cuttings. Prince William was born in 1982 but whoever had the book didn’t feel the need to add to it. I don’t think it’s ever been read and cost me all of 99p!
In 1983 PAN reissued several Arthur Hailey titles with a strapline along the top saying ‘The World’s Number One Storyteller’ There were seven with this but as ‘Strong Medicine’ wasn’t published until 1984 it looks like it was up to RUPA Publishing in India to issue their version using it.
Talking of India my doctor is very good in that she always makes sure I have regular health checks and when I saw her in November we chatted away and I asked her what she was going to do for Christmas? She said visiting family in India. When I came out after seeing the nurse about tablets last week my doctor was just arriving for her surgery. I asked her how the holiday went and straight away I was taken into her consulting room where she wrote down her full itinerary. I came out 20 minute later feeling a little guilty as there were patients there with appointments glaring at me. There is a reason for this story in that my doctor left notes with all her relatives she visited to look out for PAN X705 ‘The Third Pan Junior Crossword Book’ by Burgess Robin. PAN was, and still is, very big in India. I told her about the book once and she has never forgotten I’m looking for it, she even made a note of it on her prescription pad when I met her in the street. I plotted her journey on Google which looks as though she had covered a large part of India but when you actually look it’s still a very small part.
The Penguin book dispensing machine (The Penguincubator) crops up every now and again but having mentioned the ‘Look at Life’ short film ‘Cover Story’ last week I had a better ‘look’ at it and what caught my eye was a different paperbacks dispensing machine. Not only that it has two PAN titles in it. ‘Road to Volgograd’ by Alan Sillitoe is second down on the left while ‘So Disdained’ by Nevil Shute is below that..
This weeks Glenn Steward artwork is for ‘A Lamp is Heavy’ by Sheila MacKay Russell. I think this is one of the more minimalist covers by Steward where he signed on the original artwork but his name only appears in block capitals along the left edge on the book cover. Sheila Mackay Russell was an Albertan nurse and best-selling author. Despite the disapproval of her parents, Russell left her hometown of Airdrie to train as a nurse in Calgary and Edmonton. Based on her nursing experiences, in 1950 she authored the semi-autobiographical ‘A Lamp is Heavy‘ which became an international bestseller. It was made into a film titled in the UK as ‘The Feminine Touch’, in Canada as ‘A Lamp is Heavy’ and in the US as ‘The Gentle Touch’ I’ve also two German editions that use the artwork from the PAN front cover.
I’m always very skeptical when I see books listed as ‘rare’ so when I saw a film tie-in PAN edition for ‘Arnhem‘ (filmed as ‘A Bridge Too Far’) I checked other sites and couldn’t find another copy. Luckily nobody else wanted it so I got it at a reasonable price. Having said I couldn’t find another copy they’ll be everywhere now.
Bob Fowke is holding an Exhibition of his 70s Sci-Fi Art at the Bishop’s Castle Arts festival. He will be at the Open studio, upstairs at the ‘Barn’, Writer’s Lodge, Bishop’s Castle, on the 16th, 17th & 18th February 2024, 10.00 am to 4.00 pm. Bob painted several covers for PAN before going on to write and illustrate his own books
Back in 1982/3 the satirical magazine ‘Private Eye’ ran a series of articles entitled ‘The World’s Greatest Publishers’. On the 3rd of June 1983 they got to number 38 ‘Pan Books’. Luckily I have been a subscriber to the magazine since 1971 and have saved all the magazines so I could eventually track down number 560 containing the article. You can read it by clicking HERE It mentions many familiar names linked to PAN over the years.
As it was my birthday last week I decided to treat myself to four pieces of original artwork by Glenn Steward. Thanks to Geoff West at The Book Palace, who did me a deal on the four, I will feature one a week with this weeks being PAN X709 ‘Mrs. Harris M.P’ which turned out to be not much larger than the book cover itself!
Having mentioned ‘The Colditz Story’ and ‘A Chieftain Finds Love’ last week there is a link between them. The cover of the Pat Reid title is signed ‘F V M’ while the Cartland is signed ‘F M’ and they are the same person, namely Francis Edward Blackemore Marshall (Born Bloomsbury, London 09/01/1901 and died Barnet, Hertfordshire 22/03/1980) Francis was the son of Francis Muston Marshall and Johanna Catherina Henriette Kempe. He studied at University College in London and Slade School of Fine Art. During World War II he was a camouflage officer with the Admiralty, having been educated on HMS Worcester. Marshall was noted for his witty, elegant drawings allied to the world of fashion. Francis married Margaret Simpson Chambers in Marylebone, Middlesex on the 14/02/1930 In later life he was a prolific cover illustrator for the novels of Barbara Cartland for several publishers and not just PAN. Among periodicals illustrated by him were ‘Vogue’, ‘Woman’s Journal’ and ‘Harper’s Bazaar’ His books included ‘Fashion Drawing’, ‘Magazine Illustration’ and ‘The London Book’ about aspects of London, the Victoria & Albert Museum textiles and dress collection holds his work and he exhibited at Walker’s Galleries and elsewhere but I’m left with one question unanswered and that is ‘Did the V in F V M actually stand for anything?’
‘Talking Pictures TV’ show old films and shorts and a recent one was ‘Cover Story’ in the ‘Look at Life’ series. The paperbacks were mainly Penguin but if you were very quick you might have been able to spot ‘Moonraker’ coming off the presses followed by two more titles I can’t identify as the premises printed PAN and Macmillan so they could have been a couple of theirs.
I picked up four signed titles this week with one costing a little more than I was hoping to pay but then again that’s my fault for making my maximum bid what I did.
NUMBER 1 ‘Natural Causes’ by Henry Cecil from 1955. It is dedicated to a Hugh Manning who may or may not be the film and television actor.
Henry Cecil Leon was born in London (19/09/1902 to 23/05/1976) and wrote under the pen-names Henry Cecil and Clifford Maxwell. He became a British barrister, judge, and a writer of fiction about the British legal system with over 35 titles to his name.
NUMBER 2 ‘The Colditz Story’ by Pat Reid. It is dedicated to a ‘Paul’ and I could speculate it could be Paul Brickill as they were prisoners at Colditz together. I have several books I’ve got signed to me and they only say ‘Tim’ Maybe it should have my full name so in the future people will at least have a bit more information to guess who it might be?
Patrick Robert Reid, MBE, MC was born in India (13/11/1910 to 22/05/1990) As a British prisoner of war during the Second World War, he was held captive at Colditz Castle when it was designated Oflag IV-C. Reid was one of the few to escape from Colditz, crossing the border into neutral Switzerland in late 1942.
NUMBER 3 ‘A Chieftain Finds Love’ by Barbara Cartland is dedicated a ‘Justine’ but again no idea as to whom that might be. The book came with a booklet about Barbara Cartland and has several pages of her titles and indicates which were published by which publishers. It marks 105 as by PAN but I have 133 so not that accurate a guide! You can see more of her signatures HERE
Dame Mary Barbara Hamilton Cartland, DBE, DStJ (09/07/1901 to 21/05/2000) was an English writer, known as the Queen of Romance, who published both contemporary and historical romance novels, the latter set primarily during the Victorian or Edwardian period. Cartland was a best-selling author worldwide having written over 700 books.
NUMBER 4 ‘My Friend Annie’ by Jane Duncan is flat signed with no dedication.
Jane Duncan (10/02/1910 to 20/10/1976) was the pseudonym of Scottish author Elizabeth Jane Cameron, best known for her ‘My Friends’ series of semi-autobiographical novels. She wrote 19 all together of which PAN published 14 and I’ll put them all on a page soon. She also wrote four novels under the name of her principal heroine Janet Sandison, and some children’s books.
It was while looking through some photos from October 2023 I came across this one I took of a plaque alongside the Mersey in Birkenhead. It was to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of ‘Operation Frankton’ which is probably better known as the book and film ‘The Cockleshell Heroes’ I wondered why it seem familiar and looking back I find I mentioned the 80th anniversary in 2022 but not the plaque.
Having documented Gordon Young’s experiences at PAN in a couple of articles I’ll just add this bit as it mentions a silver PAN and what he got up to after leaving the company.
“During a visit to Malta he called on a wholesaler who had a silver gilt figure of Pan that caught his eye. He was offered it and gave it to Aubrey Forshaw who kept it on his desk until he presented it to Gordon in 1963 for selling a million books on behalf of Pan. In 1963 Gordon left to take over the family business but his love of books remained and after it was sold he became involved with King’s Bookshop in Lymington which he ran from 1984 to 1993″
King’s Bookshop, which opened in 1805, was taken over by Ottackers in 2001 and then by Waterstones. Here is Gordon with the aforementioned statue of PAN and the flag from the ‘Laloun’ which he gave to the PAN archives.
After talking to Rog Peyton, who is currently compiling a list of all the early PAN titles and their artists, I have rescanned all 12 ‘Hat Westerns’ and added the cover artists as he queried a couple. Most of them are by Pat Owen but the later covers are by Edward Mortelmans with his signature being on the extreme lower edge.
I have several cover artist I’m particularly fond of and amongst them is Glenn Steward having many examples of his work and not just for PAN. Whilst unsuccessfully trying to find out anything about Glenn one thing does crop up, that he was art editor of ‘Coureur, the magazine for the Sporting Cyclist’ and HERE is a couple of examples of artwork he did for it. I know he was still working in the 1990s but then …….? Can any one help?
It was nice to start the New Year by getting hold of a signed copy of ‘Passage by Night’ by Jack Higgins which I’ve added to the page which also features the original artwork I have by Keith Scaife.
A while back I featured some Arthur Eperon titles and promised to add some more but then had an unexpected sojourn in hospital. Now back a home being very bored as I’m not supposed to do several things, including driving, I’ve scanned in some more Eperon titles and added them to the existing page.
Having featured a couple of PAN branded items in the past I pushed the boat out on a Zippo lighter. Once again it was one of those ‘make an offer’ and from the way they came back accepting it almost instantly I wish I had gone a lot lower – how many times have I said that!
Fellow PAN collector, Bill Neal in Australia, contacted me last week to let me know he reckons there are 1,211 titles with the original PAN logo of which he has 1,204. He has sent me his ‘wants’ list and I’m wondering if any of us can help? They are 21 ‘The Black Spectacles‘, 156 ‘Nothing So Strange‘, 183 ‘The Sea Tower’, G194 ‘Legend in the Dust’, G211 ‘Courage of the North’, M15 ‘The Run for Home’ and X103 ‘Showcase’
Wishing all PAN Fans a happy 2024 and that you manage to find all those titles you have been after for so long. I’m hoping to cross a few off my list including a couple with elusive dust jackets and of course it goes without saying X705 ‘PAN Junior Crosswords Book 3’
Several years ago I though I had completed the Piccolo Explorers series with about 73 titles and editions. It was while looking for something else I came across a title in the Exploders series for Bible stories I’d not seen before. I now find there are six titles in this series but not readily available unless I’m in Malta. I found them at 1 euro each and added them to my cart. It was only when I came to the checkout and it added shipping I changed my mind, they only wanted 190 euros!
There was a post on Facebook from Renai Gard who said “I’ve only ever found a very small number of Pan’s Paris range of paperbacks from the 1940’s. Maybe four or five in sixteen or seventeen years of conscientious book-looking” This got me wondering how many were printed in France so I looked in Richard William’s PAN Books Guide and found he lists several different French printers plus a couple of Austrian ones and some just Printed in France. I’ve found examples of all the printers which you can see HERE There are probably more and I hope to do the same with UK printers.