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

The Victorians Saga, ‘Is Paris Burning’ and Simon Marsh-Devine

This weeks Plaidy series is for ‘The Victorians’ of which PAN published all five titles plus a title from the ‘Queens of England’ called ‘Victoria Victorious’

A  couple of years ago, on a flying visit to Amsterdam, I picked up a PAN first edition of ‘O Jerusalem’ for a euro on the market. I looked at the time if there were other books from PAN by the same authors and there were three. I managed to get hold of two but the thirid ‘Is Paris Burning’ was very elusive or at a silly price. Luckily a saved search came up with two copies recently but only the second one I received was correct. Does anyone want a haardback copy in French which was sent to me as a PAN paperback? Still trying to track down the cover artists.

Back in the early 90s, at the time of the infamous Bonham’s auction, Simon Marsh-Devine produced a catalogue listing artworks by Sam ‘Peff’ Peffer, Pat Owen and Edward Mortelmans that were for sale. I had this on the site as a Flash ‘book’ but with the demise of Flash  it has become unavailable so as a compromise I’ve just put all the pages on one page which can be viewed HERE I was only reminded to check this after it was mentioned in an email from book dealer Ray Steptoe plus thanks to Jules Burt for letting me borrow his copy of the cataloge to scan a few years back. I think Simon Marsh-Devine is still with us and living around Weston Super Mare, can anyone confirm that as I’d love to ask him a few questions?

‘New’ Covers, Kennedy(s) and ‘Lady Boss’

I find it odd that just when I think I must have all the covers for a title up pops another one and last week it was not one but two. The first is painted by Jean-Paul Tibbles for a later edition of ‘Falconhurst Fancy’ by Kyle Onstott and Lance Horner while the other if by Geoff Hunt for ‘Brown on Resolution’ by C S Forester.

This weeks artwork by Hans Helweg is for the 1966 edition of H3 ‘Kennedy’ by Theodore C. Sorensen. I’ve also added another four titles published by PAN with a link to the Kennedy clan on the page.

Having been a member of the Jackie Collins fan club ever since I found PAN published her books I had to watch ‘Lady Boss – The Jackie Collins Story’ on BBC 2 last Friday hoping for a reference to PAN but sad to say no sign of any of their covers, just the US editions.

‘Earthlight’, ‘Command The Morning’ and a new boss at PAN

Having managed tp pick up a copy of ‘Earthlight’ signed by Arthur C Clarke I looked to see how many different covers PAN used over the years. I have at least five with covers by GORDON, William Francis Phillipps, an awful one with a photo, Chris Foss and one that was first used by Ballantine by Dean Ellis. What is a little unusual is that my 1974 PAN edition has the edges coloured red while the Ballantine editon from 1975 has yellow although this is much more common on US paperbacks.

This weeks Hans Helweg artwork is for the Pearl Buck title’ Command the Morning’ of which PAN appears to have published three editions with the later two having the same artwork by Hans.for which he got £50.80 in April 1967. I have queried the artist for the earlier edition from 1962 as J Oval (Ben Ostrick) although it looks a little like a SHELDON?

It was announced last week that the current C.E.O. of PAN Macmillan, Anthony Forbes Watson, is stepping down early next year and will be replaced by Joanne Prior who was MD for Penguin General. I’m wondering if she has plans for a 75th Birthday Bash in 2022? I met Anthony back in 2017 in London at the 70th Celebrations  where he presented several ‘Golden PAN Awards’ 

3 ? Covers, Sam Peffer, the ‘Plantagenets’ and ‘Timeshift’

I’m still looking through Hans Helweg’s folders and there are several small paintings which I am presuminig are working ideas for the real thing. Here are 3 such paintings and while all look vaguely familiar I can’t actually put a title to them apart from the first one might be an alternative for ‘The Horsy Set’?

I’m still trying to track down Sam Peffer covers to go with his reference photos and I was convinced I’d got one for ‘Trial By Fury’ but turns out to be not quite right., It was while looking at the cover it reminded me of something Sam and I now have in common. When he was 91, not quite there myself yet, he slipped on a step and ended up with a broken hip that needed to be replaced.

This weeks Jean Plaidy series is for ‘The Plantagenets’ of which PAN published the first 7 of the 14 titles and so did not include ‘The Follies of the King’, ‘The Vow on the Heron’, ‘Passage to Pontefract’, ‘The Star of Lancaster’, ‘Epitaph for Three Women’, ‘Red Rose of Anjou’ and ‘The Sun in Splendour’ As with other series the same artwork for several titles was used by Putnam in the States.

After watching ‘Timeshift’ on BBC4 last week I can add a couple of screen captures for the PAN As Seen on TV’ page. A very quick black and white scan of PAN tiltes plus some in colour later (you need to scroll to the bottom of the page)

‘Olga da Polga’, Pearl Buck and later PAN Majors from Jules.

Having watched eight PUFFIN Easy Readers for ‘Olga da Polga’ on eBay in the States start at $400 and slowly going down in price with each listing I eventually bit the bullet when it got to $50. What made them attractive was that they are all signed by author Michael Bond. Although I already had seven with artwork by Hans Helweg there was one very elusive title listed on other sites from £45 to over £100 and not even signed. What also made up my mind was winning £50 on the Premium Bonds so how could I not buy them!

Returning to Hans Helweg’s sketches and original artwork this weeks selection is ‘The Three Daughters of Madam Liang’ by Pearl Buck. “After her husband takes a concubine, Madame Liang sets out on her own, starting an upscale restaurant and sending her daughters to America to be educated. At the restaurant, the leaders of the People’s Republic wine and dine and Madame Liang must keep a low profile for her daughters’ sake. ……..” As far as I can tell PAN only published the one edition in 1972 which is unusal for a Buck title,

Recently Jules Burt has completed his reveiw of the later PAN Majors from M101 to M274 in one of his very informative videos.. To view it on YouTube click HERE and if you missed the previous one covering numbers M1 to M100 then click HERE,

Interestingly the covers for both the 1959 and 1969 edions of ‘Not As A Stranger‘ are by Hans Helweg.

TOTEM Books, Sir Clive Sinclair and Richard Chopping plus Exhibition

I’ve been trying to obtain titles that were published by PAN but reprinted in Canada by TOTEM Books often with the same artwork on the cover. All the tiles from TOTEM, a Collins Publishers company, are either set in Canada or the author was Canadian. The problem is they were sold mainly in Canada so I started tracking them down last January from dealers over there with some arriving in weeks while some took months. I now have all the ones I ordered but I would still love to see if ‘Bomb Run’ by Spencer Dumore, published by PAN and TOTEM have the same artwork like most of the others by

It was sad to hear the news of the death of Sir Clive Sinclair at the age of 81. It was thanks to his ZX80 computer kit I took my first step on the IT ladder which resulted in me ending up as ‘IT Advisor’ for an education authority. PAN got in on the act but not until the Spectrum came along. I still remember the day the C5 appeared in the window of our Midlands Electricity Board showrooms. We went to look and the patronising salesman said “Would the little girl like to sit in it? with a smarmy smile. Well, he soon lost his smile when he realised that the keys were in, turned on and our four year old could press the accelerator demolishing the cardboard display on the way across the floor.

After last weeks unexpected ‘trip’ I’ve not managed to give as much time as I would like to the exhibition of Richard Chopping’s work at Salisbury Museum. I have put together a page HERE of assorted photos, not only mine but also from Matthew Dewhurst-Grice who posted on a Facebook page after his visit. PAN only published ‘The Fly’ written by Chopping for which he painted the cover plus ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ by Richard Condon.

Pat Owen, ‘Chopping’ in Salisbury and ‘The Bondmaid’,

I was really pleased to hear from Sue, Pat Owen’s wife, last week who has very kindly sent me some details of Pat’s life plus three photographs one of which is fantatsic as it shows the artist at work on a PAN cover. I think there may be another PAN on the far right in it which looks vaguely familiar. I’ve added these to Pat’s page listing his covers which can be seen HERE or by clinking on the Artists tab at the top of the main website page. 

I thought this was what I was going to write “After visiting to Salisbury last week  I managed to get to the Richard Chopping  Exhibition at the Museum as it is due to close at the beginning of October, the exhibition that is not the Museum!” Fortunately I did get to the exhibition, more on that next week, but my Salisbury trip was not quite what I was expecting as walking down some uneven steps I missed on and ended up with a fractured hip, ironically at a bookshop!. I would like to congratulate Salisbury Hospital on the very efficient service with only 21 hours between slip and back on the ward with a new hip. No complaints about the food, plenty of fresh salad and fruit., I’ve put on half a stone but maybe the new joint is heavy?

This weeks artwork by Hans Helweg again is the double page spread for the Pearl Buck title The Bondmaid published twice by PAN. Unfortunately all the parts from the back are no longer there.

‘Dragon Seed’, Miss Marple and Philately.

This weeks artwork and sketches from Hans Helweg are for another Pearl Buck title, namely ‘Dragon Seed’ I photographed the original artwork in Hans studio and was really pleased to find a preliminary painting for it in the folders I was given.

I was also pleased to hear from ‘James Bond’ aficionado Robin Harbour about another PAN book he spotted that once appeared on the silver screen. This time the film was ‘Murder Ahoy’ by Agatha Christie starring Margaret Rutherford but it wasn’t just one but several shelves full but the book Miss Marple takes off the shelf isn’t a PAN or even a real title!

PAN have never been into collecting postage stamps ‘big time’ but HERE are a couple of books  that might be useful to those who do as a hobby. Looking through the catalogue it almost, but not quite, makes me think of taking up collecting again. One day I might get around to listing all the PAN cover artists who also did stamps like Brian Sanders and Yvonne Gilbert. As for a contived link to PAN and stamps will this UK 2002 issue surfice?

‘Octopussy’, A Little Something I Liked and Brian Cooper

On my ‘Wanted but not at any price list’ was a Canadian copy of X668 ‘Octopussy’ and I eventually found one from a Canadian seller who wasn’t asking postage that was several times more than the cost of the book! With so many delays in the mail I had actually forgotten about it and so was pleasantly surprised when it arrived last week to to find it was a copy that I would call ‘good+’ and happy to put on the shelf next to the UK printing.

I like to look for any book publishers advertisements and I couldn’t resist this standee from Sampson Lowe. It measures about 8″ X 6″ and is cut out of plywood. I would love to find a copy with a dustjacket to match but none of the ones I have found so far does. I’m not sure of the date as the only edition which is listed with a dustjacket by artist Charles Edmund Brock (1870 to 1938) is from 1908 but the price of 7/6 is more like the 1935 edition might have cost.

This week the sketches from Hans Helweg are for M81 ‘A Touch of Thunder’ by Brian Newman Cooper (1919 to 2007) He was born in Stockport, Cheshire and was an author and Head of the History Department, Bolsover School, Derbyshire until his retirement in 1979.. He is the creator of ‘Lubbock and Tench’, a retired Detective Chief Inspector and a Detective Chief Inspector in England. As far as I can find he only had two of his eighteen(?) books published by PAN, this one and ‘The Van Langeren Girl’

Hans Helweg, a couple of ‘Look a Likes’ and ‘The Tudors’

Just to show these pages are not just thrown together(!) this weeks cover by Hans Helweg is one I bought last week plus I also have some of his sketches to go with it, namely ‘The Exile’ by Pearl Sydenstricker Buck. Hans painted many covers for Pearl Buck titles and I now have the artwork for ‘Death in the Castle’ plus several others I’ll include in the next few blogs. I also now have the artwork for I Leap Over The Wall’ and ‘The Tribe That lost Its Head’ which I’ve featured before and I have now added it to their pages. I have only just noticed that the same elements were used in the 1966 edition M4 of ‘The Tribe That lost Its Head’  so presumably also by Hans Helweg?

I am often surprised by the similarity of covers but then again I suppose if they are to truly representative of the narrative they could be ‘look a likes’ It was while scanning ‘Jamaica White’ I looked at other editions and saw the Batam cover from 1968 and wondered if Hans Helweg based his on it? The others were for Alathea and Mythago Woods’ where the trees in the middle are so similar even down to the kink in the one trunk! What do you think? Click HERE to see them. The scan left is of the back cover of the Bantam edition of ‘Jamaica White’, definitely an attention grabbing blurb.

This weeks Jean Plaidy series is The Tudors’ series and for once one of the covers gives an artist credt, namely Stuart Bodek, who has been mentioned several times before. It appears PAN published seven of the eleven titles so if any one knows if they also did ‘Katharine, the Virgin’, ‘The Shadow of the Pomegranate’, ‘The King’s Secret Matter’ and ‘Mary, Queen of France’ I’d love to know but if not ‘Why not?’

Had a most enjoyable visit last week to the family in Kent but disappointing in I found nothing that I could in anyway relate to PAN Books no matter how hard I tried to contrive something!