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

A Couple of Misses with ‘The Last Enemy’

Now I know I must miss lots of things PAN related but it’s nice to find a couple when it’s not too late thanks to a reader for one and a lucky Google search from me for the other but weirdly both sort of linked.

Just before Christmas I got a letter from fellow PAN fan, Jeremy Birch, asking if I had spotted the article in ‘The Times’ from 6th August 2015 regarding Denise Maxwell Woosnam who was the D M W referred to on Page 4 in the first two PAN editions of ‘The Last Enemy’ by Richard Hillary? My ‘Times’ spotter had let me down on this but luckily Jem sent me a copy of the article.
SpitfireAs you can see I have found five different editions published by PAN from 1956 to 1976 in the UK while in the States it was published by Dell as ‘Falling Through Space’ in 1958.MedalThe second miss was on eBay where all my saved searches let me down and I missed a copy of the PAN catalogue from September 1969 which featured on the cover titles from the ‘Battle of Britain’ series of which ‘The Last Enemy was’ one.Battle‘The Last Enemy’ is the book in the middle bottom row of the display stand and if  d***o ever wants to sell, you know where to find me! It was a bargain as they were the only bidder so it went for £5

And just to show I wasn’t immediately jumping on the Bowie bandwagon last week here is ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ by Walter Tevis from 1976. Actually it was because I haven’t been able to find my copy so until I do here’s one from the net.Bowie

Golden PANs, boring covers, a couple of updates plus a name check!

Thanks to Stuart Radmore in Melbourne who now holds the record for the fastest comment in response to a blog. I asked if anyone knew any more names/titles to add to the ‘Golden PAN Award’ role of honour and he came up with ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ and he also let me know where I could find a photo of Le Carré holding it. I’ve added it to the page. Any more suggestions?

As a site that does ‘judge a book by its cover’ I am offering this couple as contenders for the ‘Most Boring PAN Cover Award’ that I have just instigated.


NaiveAs PAN published at least two editions of these titles with different covers I am puzzled as to why they thought these would catch the eye. Click on them to see an alternative. Any more suggestions would be gratefully received!

Back in May 2015 I mentioned the books of mazes by Vladimir Koziakin and how I was waiting for Mazes for Fun 4′ to arrive in the post – well guess what turned up last week? I’ve also added ‘Gumbles on Guard’ with the Desmond Digby cover I picked up recently. I thought the Barbara Cartland nightmare was all behind me having found 129 titles but amazingly have now discovered another to bring the total up to 130. I’ll get around to rejigging the list one day but for now I’ve just stuck it on the end.

Finally every now and again I ‘google’ myself (doesn’t everyone?)  but nothing new comes up until just recently when I was most surprised and a bit chuffed to find I had been mentioned at the ‘Inclusive Learning Technologies Conference’ in Brisbane, Australia as follows ;
‘Back in 1976, pioneers like Steve Gensler in San Francisco and Paul Schwejda in Seattle were playing around with build-it-yourself kits which were to become the Apple, Commodore and Tandy computers released late the following year. Kitchen[1]This is how, as soon as these “micro-computers” arrived, Steve had an early “Unicorn Board” (later called “IntelliKeys”) ready for the Apple and Paul had cracked switch access for the Tandy. There were also switches and overlay keyboards ready for Apple with the “adaptive firmware card” Meanwhile in the UK, an old colleague of mine, Tim Kitchen of Walsall, had a working overlay keyboard paving the way for the enormously successful Concept Keyboard on the BBC computers of the 80s and early 90s which even outsold America’s IntelliKeys’
Now normally I’m just too modest to talk about my past (!) but I am left wondering, if this was true, where all the  money went? Just think of all those books I could have bought. Seriously they were good times really feeling as if you were making a worthwhile difference to those with varied special needs allowing them to access computer technology. That is the one part of my old job that I do miss.

A Quartet of Bits and Pieces

PANI have heard back from Nicholas Blake from PAN/Macmillan who tells me unfortunately there isn’t a definitive list of Golden PAN Award winners so I see that as a challenge. I have started to make a list on a page which can be seen HERE or use the link at the top. If you know of any more that we can add then please email suggestions to or add them as a comment.

I’m going to add photos. press cutting etc to the page and here is one as a starter about Peter Benchley and ‘JAWS’ from 1975Jaws

I mentioned ‘The Iron Tiger’ with a cover by Keith Scaife about which Keith said

“The one thing I do remember clearly is a sense of embarrassment over the cover for The Iron Tiger……  The publishers didn’t supply me with the whole novel to read whilst I was working out my rough ideas, just a couple of photocopied pages of the relevant passage they wanted illustrating – a Bedford truck on a mountain pass. Unfortunately, out of context I didn’t realise the time the story was set in and picked a 1970s Bedford to paint. It wasn’t until after the book was published that I found out it was WWII era…..  Readers must have wondered what on earth I was doing!!”
Well I’ve cheered Keith up in researching the truck he used and finding it was actually from 1952 and as the story line is set in the time of the Chinese invasion of Tibet he was only really a couple of years premature.
I mentioned PAN publishing their book of party games for Golden Wonder crisps and then found an article in ‘The Times’ which mentioned PAN publishing books as promotions for Gibb’s toothpaste, Nestlé’s chocolate, Beecham’s powders and White Satin gin but no luck searching all the usual sources. Does any of these ring a bell with anyone?

Finally one more for the “As Seen on Television” section. On the ‘Celebrity Antiques Roadtrip” last Tuesday they visited ‘Fanny’s Antiques’ in Reading and firstly showed a bookcase in the distance and then a close-up but fast scan down it. The Dick Francis titles are fairly obvious but I’ve given up trying to work out what some of the others on the lower shelves are. I’ve actually got around to sorting out the crazy formatting on this page. I eventually change the font from Arial to Verdana and all was OK and no I don’t understand why this affected the picture spacing either!

Jack Higgins etc.

Here’s hoping for a great 2016 and that we can all fully experience the feeling of a new word I’ve just learnt after watching ‘University Challenge’ The word is VELLICHOR and means “the strange wistfulness of used bookstores, which are somehow infused with the passage of time”

JackFor the last few months of 2015 I’ve been trying to track down as many Jack Higgins covers that were published by PAN in the 70’s and 80’s. So far I’ve got 25 different titles with 42 different covers showing variants. I’m left wondering why there are 3 different versions of ‘SOLO’ all dated 1981? I’ve included 3 that are scans of the very small covers shown on the inside of the double editions. I have all the others shown but no luck Exocet1with these.

Right –  an PAN/Rupa Indian edition from 1983.

In a few weeks I’m hoping to include some material from Keith Scaife who painted 6 of the Jack Higgins covers including ‘The Iron Tiger’ which shows a 1970’s Bedford when it should be a WW11 one! I’m also trying to find out if Higgins won a Golden PAN Award for selling over a million copies of any one title. ‘The Eagle Has Landed’ has sold over fifty million copies worldwide but how many were actually sold by PAN? I have contacted Alysoun Sanders, archivist at PAN/MacMillan and hope she can provide some answers when she is back in her office after the festive break.

Talking of Golden PAN awards I see there is a bit of controversy over The Diary of a Young Girland copyright issues. The 70 years should have expired on the 1st January this year but the Ann Frank Fund claim it was jointly written by Ann and her father Otto  and so the 70 years is extended until 70 years after his death. You can read the full details in ‘The Guardian’ article HERE which includes the picture of Otto holding a Golden PAN and if you want to read the online version of the diary as was promised by Isabelle Attard  you can find it HERE (the only problem is that it is in the original Dutch)