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 interesting covers this week etc.

Having two aunts in hospitals in different towns plus the mother-in-law in a care home it seems to have been just one round of finding spaces and paying a fortune in expensive car parks!

On a more cheerful note I did manage to get a couple of books with interesting covers. The first is a double with one way up being ‘God, The Ultimate Autobiography’ and turn it around and over and you get ‘Satan, The Hiss and Tell Memoirs’ The cover is by Warren Madill described by his agent as “the original fine art forger” and I’ve emailed to ask if the artwork is original or a pastiche but no reply yet.

The second cover is what appears to be a Canadian edition of ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau’ from 1977. It does not say where it was printed but has the look and feel of the slightly tackier Canadian paper and printing.

…. and finally another taster of Gordons story with a photo of PAN’s book boat ‘Laloun’ moored up in Paris.

Piccolo SPY SHELF etc.

I’ve noticed a book on eBay that crops up now and again listed as a ‘Piccolo SPY Shelf’ title about the CIA. I’ve tended to ignore thinking it can’t be PAN as a children’s imprint and the CIA didn’t really seem to go together. In the end curiosity got the better of me and on checking found it was a Piccolo title plus there were two more in the series which I’ve scanned in and put HERE. The covers are by artist John Avon and I’ve emailed him but not had a reply up to now.SpyShelfI also noticed on eBay several sellers of ‘Battle Cards’ of which number 7 refers to Terry Oakes who painted several covers for PAN/Piccolo. The problem was that to buy just the one specific card would cost me about $5 but I could buy 71 including number 7 for $1 so I now also have 70 all different cards from 1993 which might end up in a frame.

I’m also really pleased this week in that I have got another chapter from Gordon, who is 92, and was a member of the crew of the boat ‘Laloun’ which PAN bought to transport books from the printers in Paris back to London. It’s fascinating reading but I’ll save it until I’ve got all the parts. There is one bit I’ll share and that is the boat should have been called ‘Lalun’ as after the character in the Kipling story ‘On a City Wall’ Alan Bott initially wanted ‘Patricia’ but boats registered at Lloyds must have unique names and this and second choice ‘Lalun’ were already in use so the ‘o’ was added to make ‘Laloun’

John Doxat “Stirred – Not Shaken”

Back in July fellow PAN Fan Jem Birch asked me about titles, namely which were the shortest and which were the longest. Well it turned out there were several contenders for shortest including  ‘Jet’, ‘Mia’, ‘Sex’, ‘BRM’ and ‘Raj’ but only one for the longest ‘Booth’s Handbook of Cocktails and Mixed Drinks’ by John Doxat. This was first published by PAN in 1966 and a revised hardback edition was published in 1967 by Arthur Barker which seems to be a reverse of the norm.hardbackIn the blurb in the PAN 1983 edition it says “John Doxat, who has been described in an American journal as Britain’s ‘foremost thinking drinker’, was born the day the Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated at Sarajevo; was educated at Charterhouse and in Paris; practised varied journalism (wartime service in the Intelligence Corps); went into PR i9, and thence into the broader field of publicity and advertising with Booth’s, and in 1969 became publicity manager of Buchanan Booth’s Agencies Ltd, the DCL subsidiary, distributors of Black & White and Buchanan’s Reserve Scotch Whisky, Strathconan Malt Whisky, Booth’s Finest Dry Gin, High and Dry Gin, Cossack Vodka and Hine Cognac”

Click HERE to see the page of PAN covers including one variation from 1973 I’ve only found on an American sellers website where he is asking £42.28 plus £27.07 postage!!! Doxat seems to have written many books over the years but with a consistent theme, namely drink. One  has a link to another favourite of mine, James Bond, in that 007 gets a mention on the back cover of ‘Stirred – Not Shaken’ published by Hutchinson in 1976. This seemed like a very good title until I looked on Amazon and was amazed to see so many other books with the same title plus others with ‘Shaken – Not Stirred’

I’d love to go to the Los Angeles Vintage Paperback Show on March 19th this year but it’s not going to happen so I was pleased to see two PAN titles used in the montage for the Facebook cover photo.


Thomas Forman, printers plus a couple of snippets.

Now I don’t know if I ever gave it much thought but I think I naively believed the covers for PAN books and the text blocks were done at the same printers but I now know that not to be the case. forman2So far I’ve only found one printers, namely Thomas Forman and Sons Ltd, who were a huge and long established printing concern in Nottingham until they went out of business in 2000. It was while looking at some images in the Thomas Forman archives I first spotted a familiar cover ‘The Striptease Murders’. I contacted the preservation society who kindly sent me the following email

Dear Tim.

Formans printed a number of book covers for Pan Books. We also hold printed samples of the following titles: Man Meets Dog – Konrad Z. Lorenz The Way Back – Vincent Brome Bony Buys A Woman – Arthur Upfield

Howard F. Parker (Secretary) Thos. Forman Preservation Society

I’ve put together a page HERE which gives a little of the history plus links to the newly scanned covers of the four mentioned titles. I’m taking the opportunity,when revisiting back pages, to put on larger scans. This is something I would like to do for all but it just takes time – and is mind blowingly boring!

I’ve also added a newspaper clipping from ‘The Valley Morning Star’ from 31st July 1976 which has a report of Ralph Vernon-Hunt presenting James Herriot with four Golden Pan Awards

Lastly but by no means least I’ve managed to get a first edition copy of Alan Bott’s  book ‘An Airman’s Outings’ This still has the very rare dustjacket and was published by William Blackwood and Son in Edinburgh in 1917. airmansoutings

Paul Davies – and a Happy New Year 2017

Since I first made contact with Paul Davies back in the Spring to ask about the 12 covers he produced for Leslie Thomas titles we’ve emailed on and off about various things. Just before Christmas Paul was generous enough to give me one of his cartoons he drew for the book ‘Some Missing Persons’

pdbookshop2I was so pleased it was the one depicting ‘The Bookshop Owner’, unfortunately a fast disappearing breed. Paul has a website showing many examples of his work and also a very amusing blog, I think we have a similar sense of humour and I’m looking forward to meeting him in the New Year, either up here or down in Cheltenham where he is having an exhibition in August. This makes a change as it seemed all the people connected with PAN in some way live in London or down south on the coast.


On a different note while trying to find something to watch on TV on Boxing Day I came across a BBC ‘Countryfile’ compilation on James Herriot where you had to look carefully, blink and you missed it, to see a clip showing a pile of Herriot PAN editions plus a couple of mugs. I’ve added a screenshot of it to my ‘As Seen on TV’ page.

We are now into 2017 and so I’ll wish you all the best with many happy hours finding and sorting those PANs, maybe this will be the year I get that elusive last title!