PAN Fans

Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for

PAN Fans - Let's talk about PAN paperbacks – the blog for

Antoine de Saint-Expury, Colin Dexter and Peter McGinn

Well here we are a week after all the updates and my website seems to have survived. It is now telling me there is an update to my theme but as it has been saying that for a long time I will ignore it as I think I’d lose all the changes I’ve made to it’s appearance over the years.

Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint-Exupéry was a French aviator who disappeared during WW2. He had three of his works published by PAN, two concerned with flying ‘Wind, Sand and Stars’ and Flight to Arras plus his children’s book ‘The Little Prince’ I was reminded of these as the first two have covers with GDA on them for Gino d’Achille.

Not a true PAN Colin Dexter but I did pick up ‘As Good as Gold’ which was a ‘give away’ by Kodak but published by PAN. An added bonus, which I didn’t realise at the time, was that it is inscribed and signed by Colin.

Last week one of the Hammer Horror books had a cover by Peter McGinn and I’m pleased to say, thanks to the help of his son John, who is also an artist, I made contact. John is currently in Hong Kong but gave me his father’s phone number in the States and I rang Peter and had a very long chat with him at his home in Sarasota, Florida. Although 87 and ‘retired’ he still paints.

Last week one of the Hammer Horror books had a cover by Peter McGinn and I’m pleased to say, thanks to the help of his son John, who is also an artist, I made contact. John is currently in Hong Kong but gave me his father’s phone number in the States and I rang Peter and had a very long chat with him at his home in Sarasota, Florida. Although 87 and ‘retired’ he still paints.

Although the Hammer one might be the only cover Peter did for PAN he painted many for other publishers. He studied at the Edinburgh College of Art, was involved with the Edinburgh International Festival , he worked in the middle east as an ETV production designer and schools programming//designer/instuctor for the BBC, he worked in Poland making films for which he had to learn Polish, was Professor of Figure Drawing and Painting/ Illustration at Ringling College of Art and Design, collaborator with John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art plus many more jobs. I hope to have another chat with him one day as he said he’d love to go out for a drink and compare notes on people at PAN.

The Hammer House of Horror

This week I have had to install a backup for this blog, then run the WordPress update and also update the version of PHP to 7.3 so I’ve been reluctant to do too much to it in case it all went wrong. Plus I have been working down our old railway track or our allotment in spite of Storm Gareth so I’ve only one item but it’s a quality one.

I was sorting through boxes of bits and pieces I had put on one side moving my collection to my ‘library’ last year when I came across some John Burke contracts including three related to the Hammer Horror titles, namely ‘The Hammer Horror Omnibus’ English ‘and Italian editions and “The Second Hammer Horror Omnibus” English edition. I contacted Johnny Mains who pointed me in the right direction to get the Italian edition but when I showed him the Dutch edition, which he didn’t know about he said “****”

I was surprised to find that the Dutch edition was published by K-Tel who I always thought of as producing those products that were suitable to give to some one who had everything such as the brush-o-matic and the disc-o-matic. The latter was a record selector and I actually still have a couple somewhere along with some of the compilation records tha K-Tel produced.

With this new version of WordPress there seems to be a lot more options such as having coloured backgrounds etc and tempted as I am to use them all I’ll stick with my tried and tested format although I’m not saying there won’t an occasional foray into different realms!

Having now played around with this version a bit more I think I prefer the earlier one but I have discovered I can switch parts of it back to ‘Classic’ ie the previous version. If I use that with the ability to add html I might be able to do what was so simple before.

PS Still waiting to hear back from four artists but as it is now 2 months since writing to one of then I may put that down as a failure!

Michael Hardcastle, John Le Carre and Daphne du Maurier

Michael Hardcastle, who died last January, wrote over 140 books on various subjects including four published by PAN under its Piccolo imprint. These feature the ‘Scorton Rovers’ with three covers by Gary Keane. As I couldn’t find an email address for Gary I’ve written him a letter and if I get a response I’ll add  it to a blog.  The fourth cover is by Mike Lynn of whom I can find nothing so far.

I recently posted on a James Bond fans Facebook page a query about ‘The Looking-Glass War’ by John le Carre as I know they also show an interest in others titles in a similar genre. I asked a question about PAN Books editions of ‘The Looking-Glass War’ I have a 1st from 1966 numbered X528 which has 75c printed on the cover. I thought it was like OHMSS where UK early printings were sent to the colonies but this is actually printed in Canada. The ‘real’ UK 1st printing appears to be numbered M210 so I asked if anyone had a number X528 printed in the UK as I’ve not found one online?  I also asked after an enquiry from fellow PAN Fan Jem Birch “Why is there a variation in the logo on the spines of some 2nd printings from 1967, some have yellow and others red?” Any ideas?

I’ve finally managed to get a 1975 edition of Daphne du Mauriers ‘The Scapegoat’ to replace the image I got off the web. This was very faint so I thought the real thing would be better but turns out to be very faint as well. I’ve acquired a few titles this week and rather strangely five of them have the very discrete ‘GDA’ logo for Gino d’Achille.

Paul Scott, Daisies, Pop Up Bookshop, ‘O Jerusalem’ and ‘World Book Day’

This weeks featured author is Paul Mark Scott who died on the 1st March 1978. He was born on the 25th March 1928 in London and was a novelist, playwright, and poet. He is probably best known for his monumental tetralogy ‘The Raj Quartet’ His novel ‘Staying On’ won the Booker Prize for 1977. PAN published ‘The Raj Quartet’ in 1988 and all his other back titles in the next two years. Up to then PAN had only published two titles ‘The Mark of the Warrior’ and ‘The Chinese Love Pavillion’

Nine of the covers are by the Belfast artists Kenny McKendry and I emailed him to ask about them and he kindly replied “Hi Tim, Yes indeed you have the right Kenny McKendry, It was a long time ago but I have nice memories of travelling up to London to deal with Pan quite often. The name of my contact as art director escapes me right now but I am sure it will come back to me. He was a jolly fella and quite generous with fees etc. They were quite a closed shop in terms of commissioning and I was considered fortunate to be on their roster of artists. I’m afraid in those, days due to deadlines etc, I did tend to rush things out and not give the literature the proper consideration. I can’t say I did a lot of them justice. I do have the art work somewhere and will get back to you with photos when I track it down. That’s a great website, nice to be reminded of the old way of doing things. Will get back to you soon. Best regards, Kenny”  I think the art director might have been Gary Day-Ellison. I’ll report back any further news.

Another addition to the ‘PAN As Seen on Television’ section and yet again from ‘Bargain Hunt’. This time it was in a Stamford bookshop and prominently in the spinner display was a very decrepit looking copy of ‘Please Don’t Eat the Daisies’

The pop up bookshop has reappeared in Wolverhampton and is there for another two weeks so if you are around the Wulfrun Centre be sure to pop in. They seem to have more paperbacks this time although I only bought one PAN which turned out to be the same as the one I already have, the old memory is not what it was! On the plus side I did buy a few titles to actually read.

I was going to report back on all my purchases from Amsterdam but only picked up one title from the flea market on Waterlooplein for 1 euro  (see below) I did better calling in at Durham on the way back where I picked up three early Pearl Buck titles that looked like they had never been read. Buy three, pay for two in the Oxfam shop was not a bad deal.

Finally don’t forget ‘World Book Day’