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

Hailey’s Airport, another Classic and a booksellers shop.

I’m still intrigued as to why PAN felt the need to bring out so many different covers for the same title sometimes very close together. One example is ‘AIRPORT’ by Arthur Hailey with two editions from 1970, one from 1978 and another from 1979. The first two are both film tie-ins and the later ones sort of go with the different series covers. I’ve also included a couple of titles from film spin offs.

A while ago I started a page of covers of the early to mid 70’s PAN Classics series. I thought I had most of them until I popped into a local charity shop and amongst the few books on the shelf was a copy of ‘Wuthering Heights’ and I hadn’t got it. I had to think carefully about spending all of 50p even though it was buy one get one free …………..! This really doesn’t happen very often these days as anything published in the ‘last century’ doesn’t appear to be worth putting on the shelves in most charity shops.

I’ve previously mentioned my Great Great Great Grandfather Charles Lowe, who had a second-hand book shop in Birmingham, as my excuse for not being able to stop buying books although it doesn’t really convince my wife. I’ve tried to track down a photo of his premises for quite a while and have just found one in the Birmingham Library’s archives. It’s from around 1889 showing the shop as ‘To Let’  as looking in trade directories he is not listed in 1888 but as being there in 1890. Now to find one when it was a bookshop.


Erle Stanley Gardner, Frederick Pohl and a BYO Bookmark

Having just picked up a copy of ‘The Case of the Lazy Lover’ by E S Gardner from 1972 I looked at the back and found it was another title in the series that PAN occasionally called;Soritng out the covers that are the same style I find I have 15 Gardner’s so far and they can be seen HERE listed in date order. Please let me know if you have any more to add.

I also picked up an unread copy of ‘Farthest Star’ by Frederick Pohl and Jack Williamson and is the first title in the ‘Saga of Cuckoo’ series but only this title was published by PAN. It has been signed by Pohl who did it very carefully and I’ve resorted to taking a photo rather than putting it on the scanner so as not to force it open.The cover for ‘Farthest Star’ is by Bob Layzell and I contacted him and he kindly replied “I’m afraid I no longer have a copy of “Farthest Star” but you may use any photo’s from my albums. I remember the art director of Pan at that time was called Dave Larkin who was very helpful and introduced me to “Young Artists” This cover was also the first I had published in 1976′ It surprises me how many of the ‘Young Artists’ covers for PAN were recycled for the ‘Anticipation’ s/f series by Fleuve Noir in France.

I also picked up a bookmark for ‘Bind Your Own’ (BYO) and this time advertising a PAN tile ‘The Last Enemy’ unlike the last one which was for a Fontana title. With the PAN covers you can also see the Dell cover  of ‘Falling Through Space’ the title ‘The Last Enemy’ was given first in the States.How to turn a perfectly good book into one that isn’t in 10 minutes or less!

Gavin Tudor Lyall again and RIP Liz Fraser

Having been away for most of last week I’ve only got a couple of things with the first being another page of Gavin Lyall covers. Colin Thomas (see last blog) was the photographer for at least one of them along with Derek Askem and Andy Whale. I’ve written to a Derek Askem but might not have the right one, no response so far. I emailed Andy with my usual “I hope I’ve got the right person and if “Yes” have you got any recollections of working for PAN?” and he replied “Yes I had got the right person and how could he help?” I again repeated my question but still awaiting a reply. The later covers are HERE

There was a lot in the news about Burt Reynolds dying on September 6th but nothing about Liz Fraser who was in so many films from my youth – and a few from later such as the ‘Confessions’ series which I have to ‘confess’ to having on DVD. She was said to be “best known for her comedy roles as a provocative “dumb blonde” in British films of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s” This still from the film ‘I’m All Right Jack’ with Liz Fraser and Ian Carmichael was used by Glenn Steward who painted the cover for the PAN film tie-in for G319 from 1959. Liz also appeared in ‘The Americanization of Emily’ with the film tie-in edition being a second printing from PAN as G490 from 1964.

Gavin Tudor Lyall etc.

Sorting through the different series of covers of Gavin Lyall titles I have scanned in the ones from the early 80’s which feature guns. I noticed that several were credited to photographer Colin Thomas and I’ve put them on a page HERE. Although not all having a name I’ve taken the liberty of crediting them all to him but I’ll change it if I find it’s any different. Colin photo’s were used on many PAN covers for authors  including Dick Francis, Ed McBain, Raymond Chandler, Agatha Christie, Colin Dexter, Jack Higgins and what has been a bit of a mystery up to now, the 18th PAN Book of Horror Stories. More on these in a later blog.

I contacted Colin and he very kindly replied;

Dear Tim
Thanks for your email, you have got the right Colin Thomas. I did my first cover for PAN with David Larkin in 1977 (18th Pan Book of Horror Stories)
I subsequently did lots of covers for David, and for his successor Gary Day-Ellison, and in a way I still work for Pan Books today if you can call the imprint at Pan Macmillan the same company.
So I’m afraid I do belong to the group of photographers who, commissioned by Larkin and Day-Ellison brought about what you describe: “photography began to play an increasingly dominant part, and the special period charm of the artwork covers of the previous twenty years was lost”.
Amongst many other commissions, I did a series of covers for Ed McBain titles, and for Dick Francis titles, where we tried to go for a minimalist look that we hoped had ZERO period charm!
I still shoot for book covers today, although the industry has changed dramatically from the way it was in 1970’s and 80’s. Anyway, I’m attaching a few more covers from that period that I’m still proud of.
Colin Thomas

Just looking up Gavin Lyall I think he was born a stones throw from Cadbury’s at 139, Cob Lane in Birmingham in May 1932 and which is just a few miles from me but needs a check as his parents seemed to have moved around the area a lot. Returning to the ‘gun’ covers I’m trying to see if they did one for ‘Venus With Pistol’ which would seem appropriate but the problem is that the ones in the later series as below appear to use the same book block so the same dates. This doesn’t help trying to track them down!
I don’t remember the TV version of ‘The Secret Servant’ as stickered on the cover of one of my copies which was a BBC production from 1984 starring Charles dance as Henry Maxim.

..………… and finally the painting of the artist I featured last week was a self portrait of Hans Helweg from 1998 when he was 81.