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

RIP Ken Hatherley, A Christie Title and Piers Paul Read

I was really sad to hear from Colin Larkin that Kenneth Mervyn Hatherley died last week after suffering a massive heart attack and could not be revived. Ken was born in 1951 and followers of this blog will probably recognise the name as he was Studio Director at PAN in the 1970’s and 80’s. I put together a page after we meet up at his home and the link is HERE. I know one thing Ken was particularly proud of, but not credited with, was the icon style he designed for the ‘JAWS title looking like teeth.

I contacted Peter Tietjen who said about Ken;
“A dear pal of mine left this world on Saturday 9th May 2020. We met at Pan Books, Tothill Street in 1971 and soon discovered we shared the same wicked sense of humour, sharing countless crazy escapades together over the years (many of which would be deemed extremely politically incorrect by today’s standards). I really didn’t know what to say when I heard Ken had died, then I remembered the photo I’d taken of the tree in his garden that he’d trimmed to the shape of a heart. The first time I saw it in bloom, I thought it was a fake but on checking, discovered it to be the real thing. Ken too, was the real thing. Ken was an inveterate smoker, imbiber of Strongbow, total Luddite concerning anything vaguely resembling a computer but great with a barbecue. He was also my greatest friend and I shall miss our gambling, shooting and explosives sessions!”
Thanks to Peter for these photos.

Our condolences go out to his wife Pauline and all the rest of the family.

While looking for Roger Hall covers I started re-scanning his PAN titles and amongst them was ‘The Mysterious Affair At Styles’ by Agatha Christie. As I am now putting in cross links I noticed that this one title has at least three of PAN’s eclectic numbers plus an ISBN. It appeared as 310, G112, X284 and 0330 102842 with the same artwork being used on several editions.

While talking about motorway services, as you do, and how bad they are generally I have to say I do like two, namely Tebay on the M6 and Beaconsfield on the M40 because they are friendly and welcoming unlike most, they both have a lake plus Beaconsfield is the only services with a Wetherspoons! It was while mentioning Beaconsfield I remembered that is was the birthplace of the late great Sir Terence David John Pratchett OBE and also Piers Paul Read of whom PAN published 12 of his titles. I have scanned in a page of them and they can be found HERE

Disclaimer: Other services with lakes are available and any opinions expressed are purely those of the author. I wouldn’t dare say something so controversial on Facebook!

Finally take care and ‘stay safe’ and apparently ‘stay alert’ whatever that means?

‘SHELDON’, Chitty and Ambrosia and a ‘Nothing to do with PAN!’

There have been a couple of mentions of Louis Shabner in past blogs who was better known as the artist who signed just as ‘Sheldon’ (not to be confused with Harry Sheldon) on over 20 PAN covers. I noticed a calendar on eBay for 1978 with a picture of ‘Miss Felco’ on it and signed by Louis Shabner and as the price wasn’t too extortionate I bought it as I certainly can’t afford a ‘real’ painting of his at current prices. It looked very nice hanging in the ‘library’ but as it had been used it was short of one thing, the tear of months so with the help of ‘Publisher’ it now has a token month added. I would love to know who Miss Felco actually was?

I did some research on ‘Felco Hoists Ltd’ as I like a challenge and it turns out to be one of those weird coincidences. It was originally based in London, got bought out by Birfield in the early 60’s, taken over by GKN in 1967 and finally acquired by Wheway Watson Ltd. before disappearing in 1990. What is weird is that Wheway Watson Ltd was not a million miles from me and I must have passed it going to and from work in the 80’s but I can’t picture it! 

While on the ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Collectors’ Facebook page I noticed someone had put on a photo of the Chitty/Ambrosia badges which were awarded at promotions and to all entrants to their competition. I had thought it was a colouring competition but turns out it’s ‘Spot The Difference’ on the tins. Dave Hinett of the Facebook group very kindly scanned in a page of details of the promotion which also shows the prizes including 40,000 copies of the book written by John Burke. I have added a few press cuttings and some photos of the ‘first prize’ at the Ambrosia factory etc. which can been seen HERE. I would love to know if the winner chose the car or the cash?

Nothing to do with PAN but I thought it was a bit spooky when looking through the 30th June 1984 edition of ‘Personal Computer News’ as you do and noticed this illustration from an article on a flight simulator programme!

An Advert, Gary Menchen and Erle Stanley Gardner plus BOAC

Found the above on a website, bit spooky or what but I’d love to get one

Last year I received an email from Gary Menchen about his project to produce an on-line bibliography of Erle Stanley Gardner. He has now come back to me to say his website has a magnificent 157 titles in 1,960 editions/variants and over 1,200 cover images of which I’m happy to say a few are mine. Gary asked if it was OK to use some of my PAN covers to fill gaps and I was more than happy to say “Yes” as it included plugs for my website. It’s amazing when you see THE LIST OF PUBLISHERS with PAN’s being a very small contribution of 74.

Just sorting a few books when I noticed one had a sticker for the B.O.A.C. (British Overseas Airways Corporation)  Aircraft Library so I looked and found a few more.The Interloper’ has the blue sticker inside front cover and is not quite as worrying a title as this ONE I have for Singapore Airlines, just what you want to read at 30,000 feet! I always like to read before bedtime no matter where I am.

J B Yeats, Daniel Defoe and John Creasey

Hunting through some boxes not looked at for a while I came across this proof copy of “J. B. Yeats Letters To His Son W. B. Yeats” published by Faber and Faber in 1944. I can’t remember where I picked it up but it must have been because it says on the front “With Alan Bott’s Compliments’ and 1944 was of course the year PAN was registered as a company by Alan Bott. It also says inside that it is from the library of J. B. Priestly and PAN published Priestley titles. Gordon Young recalls meeting Priestley (below) in Paris when they were shipping books over on the ‘Laloun’:

While in Paris, as I mentioned earlier, we were fortunate to be able to moor alongside the floating club house of the Touring Club de France (TCF) which lay just upstream from the Pont de la Concorde, usually arriving late Friday afternoon, giving us a couple of free days before proceeding upstream to the commercial dock at Quay Austerlitz to load. Aubrey Forshaw (ADF) was a great Francophile and love to slip over to Paris when we were there. One time he decided to hold a drinks party on board for several authors who happened to be in Paris – I think there might have been some literary event on at the time. So we ‘dressed ship’, set out a drinks table and I suppose we must have about twenty people aboard but the only one I can remember now was J B Priestley. Pan had recently published his ‘Three Time Plays’ and as it happened I had a copy. Thinking I might get him to sign my copy, I approached the great man, who had settled himself in a chair on the after deck, away from the main crowd, and was enjoying a quite moment with a large whisky. I asked very politely if he would sign my copy and was very rudely told to “F……….off, I never do signings”. I realised he had had more than one whisky !”

I recently had several emails from Grant Thiessen of BookIT Inc in Winnipeg with scans of PAN book covers he has, one of which was Moll Flanders’ by Daniel Defoe. This reminded me I have never updated the ‘mistake’ page for this title which was originality issued as X433 but mysteriously changed to the incorrect X438 in the 3rd printing.

With X433 becoming X438 it meant there were now two with the same number namely  ‘Moll Flanders’ and ‘A Prince For Inspector West’. As all the catalogues correctly list X438 as the Creasey I went to re-scan it at a larger size to be pleasantly surprised to find it signed by Creasey. I think this is just fortuitous as I do not remember buying  a copy sold as such. I’ve looked at other examples of the signature and it does appear to be as genuine as any of these can be without full provenance.