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

Tony Whitehorn, Douglas Reeman and ‘Not As A Stranger’

I recently received comment on a blog from Tony Whitehorn to which I sent a reply by email. Tony was the chief blurb writer at PAN from January 1962 to November 1964 and he has very kindly written an article which will appear in the PAN Macmillan newsletter but he has also let me have a copy which you can read HERE.

I asked Tony if he had a favourite ‘blurb and he replied “One of my favourite books, which I found exceptionally thrilling and moving, was Seven Men at Daybreak’ (I knew nothing of the Heydrich assassination then – cinema and television hadn’t yet made it well-known) and for that I decided to highlight the moment I had found most tense, that when the two brave Czechs waiting for Heydrich’s car saw it suddenly sweep into view”

This is the fifth and final title of the PANs I recently bought that were signed to members of staff at PAN. It is In Danger’s Hour’, one of the three Douglas Reeman titles I’ve found that have the PAN logo on the front. The artwork for all the titles is by Brian Sweet. I contacted Brian by phone, coincidentally almost two years ago to the day, asking if he knew where the artwork was? He said he have a look to see if he still had it but as I’ve not heard back I am presuming he wasn’t successful.

Still trying to find a 1969 copy of Morton Thmpson’s book Not As A Stranger’ but I did find there was a Signet title on which some of the stories in this was based.

Keith Scaife, Paula Gosling and RIP Mrs. Bond.

After visiting artist Keith Scaife in Leek last week I’ve put together a page of some of his PAN covers, the original artwork he had with him and correspondence from PAN as to how they wanted the covers to look. You can find the page HERE Keith is also an accomplished model maker and brought along the model he made for the bailer on a Lilliput Lane harvest scene including a thresher.

This week is number four of the five signed PAN Books I got recently. It is Monkey Puzzle’ by Paula Gosling from 1985. She won the Crime Writers Association ‘Golden Dagger’ award for this the same year. I was pleased to find a couple of early titles had covers by Harry Hants which I will add to his page.

I am currently scanning the covers I already have with a few more ‘in the post’ which I’ll add as and when they, arrive hopefully.

I was sorry to see that Diana Rigg had died as she was part of my formative years especially in ‘The Avengers’. The only proper link I can find to PAN is the 1965 film tie-in edition of ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ where photos including Diana are on the inside cover as she played Teresa “Tracy” Bond (born Teresa “Tracy” Draco, and also known as the Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo) There is a very tenuous one in that she narrates the story of ‘The Snail and the Whale’ in the BBC series of which the book is published by PAN Macmillan, I did say it was very tenuous!

‘Leviathan’, Viviane Ventura and Keith Scaife

Thanks to Bazeer Fulmore who runs the excellent’ website who drew my attention to a comment on a Facebook post that I had seen but I had missed an additional one from Ian Allison who posted a couple of photos.  It was a copy of ‘Leviathan’ by John Davis he had picked up in the States that had a sort of dust jacket as above. Now searching high and low to try and find one but no luck so far.

This week is number three of the five signed PAN Books I got recently. It is April Fool’  by Viviane Ventura from 1983. This was an author I had not come across before and it turns out she has only written two books. I was intrigued to see she appeared to have been in one of my favourite films “The Wild Wild West” but it turns out it was the TV series of the same name from the 60’s on which the 1999 version is based.

I was really lucky last week in that I  met up with book cover artist Keith Scaife at last. He was born in Lymington but now lives in Penrith so neither was not the most convenient of places. Fortunately he spent his formative years in Leek where his Mother still lives and whom he was visiting over the weekend. We were lucky with the weather as it was going to be a meet up, at a safe distance in the garden but actually turned out to be the front room of Mrs. Scaife’s house (Thanks for the coffee and chocolate biscuits Heather) I’d arranged to acquire the artwork for The Iron Tiger’which I collected and saw all the other Higgins covers at the same time. I will feature more on this and the visit next week.

FOOTNOTE We were a bit tied up last week with our eldest cat ‘Scruff’ who has recently developed teeth problems but struggles on wanting to eat so we had him booked in to have the bad teeth removed. The vet hinted that he might not survive the anaesthetic and it might be better to have him put to sleep as he also has kidney problems, anaemia and a serious heart murmur – oh and it will cost over £600! Well he did survive and is now almost back to how he was before he got the teeth problems although we have to give him a couple of drugs a day to help his kidneys.