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

Teweksbury, ‘Two Times Murder’ And Thomas Forman

We were due to be at Tewkesbury Caravan Club today to meet up with the antiquarian bookseller who had bought all of Hans Helweg’s original artwork I saw when I went to Han’s studio last year. Mark, the dealer, had gone through all 70+ and had decided 10 were not really commercially viable plus one with damage and offered them to me at a price where I could hardly say “No” As he lives near Tewkesbury and the the club site was no longer underwater (a frequent occurrence) we arranged to meet up and  exchange a modest amount of money for the pictures, Unfortunately, the site having reopened on the 20th after the floods has now closed on the 22nd due to COVID-19! Fingers crossed I can get them at a later time……
(Photo above is of the site entrance near the Abbey showing how high the site reception is built to be above the regular floods)

As is often the case, by a strange coincidence I came across another of Sam Peffer’s covers being recycled (click HERE to see previous) and it is little more sympathetically done this time. The book is ‘Two Times Murder’ with a tipped in sheet as below. It was also the accompanying description from Gary Lovisi that sold it to me as it said ‘Gryphon Books, 2012, 1st US book edition, US trade paperback, writing as J.K. Baxter, classic private eye novel in the Chandler style by a famed British author, cover art by Sam “Peff” Peffer, this is book #2 of just 50 COPIES published, SIGNED by Bounds, cover artist Peff, and Phil Harbottle who wrote the introduction on a special bound in signature page, rare, all of these copies were destroyed in Hurricane Sandy, this is one of only 2 left, as new, Fine (1)’ I did contact Gary who told me the sheets were sent to Sam who signed them in the UK.

It’s only taken me just over two years to discover the bulletin above which is from around the time I wrote to the society. The society preserves the memory of Thomas Forman and Sons Ltd,  a very long established printers in Nottingham but which unfortunately closed in 2000.

Donald Downs, ‘Last Horizon’ And An Artwork

I picked up a copy of the Hamlyn ‘Book of Fishing’ because it was illustrated by three PAN cover stalwarts namely Glenn Steward, Roger Hall and Sam ‘PEFF’ Peffer. Inside was a name I didn’t recognise but on doing a quick search I find the book must have belonged to a fly fishing expert, Donald Downs. I’ve compared signatures with know ones and it is definitely his. “He lived in Westerham, Kent and did not own a car, even though during his war service he had driven most things from a Jeep to a Churchill tank. He enjoyed listening to the wireless, but would not entertain the like of television, or even a refrigerator and was very happy in his own company.”

After trying to get all the 70 plus PAN Horizons titles I have at last got a replacement for the one supposedly lost in the post (I did get my money back) but I’m very disappointed in that it is the only one that doesn’t actually list the artist anywhere I can find on the cover!

While sorting through my meagre collection of cover artwork I came across this small painting which says it is ‘Not As A Stranger’ by Morton Thompson but it is not like the two covers PAN used. It seems to be too good a quality for a rough but pretty sure it is a PAN as it was amongst the piles they threw into the skips in 1991! Hans Helweg painted both covers used for the 1961/63 edition and the 1969 edition so maybe one of his? I’ll keep searching.

Douglas Adams at 42, A Booktown No More and 007 Menus

On the 8th March 1978 the ‘Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy’ first aired on BBC Radio 4. I still have it recorded on a 7½” tape on my reel to reel recorder along with all the other episodes. To celebrate it being 42 years PAN are reissuing all the titles in a new format in spite of the PAN edition of the book not actually being published until the following year. Later ‘So Long and Thanks for All the Fish’ included this advertising material. If anyone has a plug spare I would be really interested. This was the book that gave DA his first of three Golden PAN Awards

On looking through some books that we are going to donate to a National Trust bookshop I found the above flier. I well remember going just after it opened and was really pleased to see a couple of shops, several stalls in the library and on the market, a bookcase in the pub and a few charity shops all with a good stock of secondhand books for sale. There were promises of many more traders to come so we were really disappointed when we went back to find most of them had gone. within a year. Now there seems to be just the one charity shop with high prices. As Atherstone was only 20 miles away we thought it would be a regular outing but maybe we are partly to blame in that in the end we actually only went twice in twelves months!

I’m sure a fellow member of the Facebook group ‘James Bond Collectable Books Worldwide’ Nick Bennett won’t mind me sharing his post from last week. Apparently the London Hilton ‘007 Nightspot’ used PAN Bond book covers for their menus. He also included a few printers proofs of Bond covers he has in his collection. Thanks Nick, looks like another item to look out for.

Kaye Hodges, A Book Exchange And Andrew Collins

While vising our Grandson in Kent last week I took the opportunity, as he was practicing baby yoga, to pop down the road to see Kaye Hodges who painted at least five covers for the PAN Horizons series. Kaye was very welcoming and the coffee and biscuits much appreciated. Her husband had kindly gone into the loft and retrieved the artwork for several of Kay’s covers which I’ve put on a page HERE plus other pieces as I find them. All of Kaye’s Horizons series covers are HERE

What I was really pleased to find was that Kaye had painted the artwork for the covers of the 21 ‘Famous Five’ series of paperbacks published by Knight Books in 1988 and by coincidence are the the same 21 paperbacks sitting on the shelf to my right. . Unfortunately Kaye is not credited as the artist in them anywhere I’ve found.

In Ditton, where my son lives, they have a monthly book exchange and luckily we arrived on the day for March. There were shelves of good quality books (my wife picked up a few Terry Pratchett hardback firsts) and I picked up some replacement PANs as they were a lot better than the ones on my shelves including an unread copy of PAN 85 ‘Humorous Tales‘ The best part was when I said I hadn’t got any books to exchange, how much would they like they wouldn’t take anything as they have so many books that they just need to get rid of them apparently. They didn’t even want anything for the tea and coffee!
While we were down there we took Grandson William to see the Moon in Rochester Cathedral and I popped into Baggins Books and came out with nothing which is not for the first time. Is it just me but I find it really difficult to just browse the shelves there?

Back in July 2011 I added a section to ‘PAN as mentioned in other books’ which has all of two entries, Peter Robinson and Andrew Collins, so if you know of any more I’d be very grateful. I was reminded of this when reading last weeks ‘Radio Times’ which features movie reviews by Andrew Collins and I was pleased to see he mentions his childhood memories of James Bond titles he read in PAN editions.

STOP PRESS Just heard that since they opened the secondhand bookshop at Baddesley Clinton, the National Trust has raised £760, 924 towards the properties upkeep. This year their Annual Book Fair is on from the 1st to the 16th August from 11:00 to 16:00 each day

Pop-Up Bookshop, Sam Peffer And World Book Day

Always pleased to find the pop-up bookshop back in Woverhampton although it is a case of “Where is it now?” as they use empty shops of which, unfortunately, there are quite a few. Steve and Bernard who organise it say it is well supported and they make money which at the end of the day is what it’s for. Managed to find a couple of titles and here are some photos of the stock on the shelves and tables.

Still sorting Sam Peffer artwork and have now made it four options under his tab in that I’ve added a section for covers painted from film still reference photos instead of them being with the photos Sam took. They are not all PAN as Sam painted what is estimated to be over 500 covers for several publishers but probably most were. Kathy, Sam’s great niece, is going through all his ledgers compiling a database so we may have a more accurate number soon. Some of the sections content is a bit thin at the moment as it is a work in progress. Just added this Digit cover with Kitty, Sam’s wife. modelling. 

Go out and support all those bookshops that were supposed to have beeen going to the wall since the start of the century because the future was ebooks. Great news as one who has a reader and has tried to use it but feels you can’t beat the real thing as sales of books are on the rise as in this slightly old Guardian article.