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

Steve Chibnall, Pamela Bell and Hans Artwork Number 2

A bit like buses, you wait for one then two come along at once or in this case books. I was contacted recently by Steve Chibnall asking if I could put him in touch with the daughter of a cover artist I had mentioned in a blog as he had been commissioned to write a book on him.  I asked her if she was happy with this which she was but it then turns out she has just written a forward for another book on her father’s work!
Steve may have not been too happy to hear this but I came out of it very well with Steve kindly offering me some PAN point-of-sale  materials for a very reasonable price. These consist of three book standees and a ‘Whiteoaks’ cards. Now if only some one who has one for ‘Book of the Month’ wants to sell it ……!

Since having recently acquired the Kevin Tweddell triptych for Pamela Belle’s ‘Heron’ series I have been in communication via Messenger and she has very kindly sent me a couple of copies of her books from her collection as they have the title in a straight style of font rather than a cursive one. This now means I now have 8 of the 9 nine different editions. These are 5 of 6  from PAN and 3 later hardback from Severn House (PAN may have also used it for their hardback editions but not sure)  that used the Tweddell artwork, just ‘Alathea’ with the title in a cursive script to go.

This weeks artwork by Hans Helweg is slightly damaged in that it has lost a couple of inches off it’s top! It’s ‘Love Let Me Not Hunger’ by Paul Gallico for which Hans was paid £50. Just looking at the book cover as opposed to the artwork you cannot really appreciate how much skill has gone into painting the couple in the foreground.

‘Fiesta’, James Barlow and Hans Helweg

I recently spotted an edition of Ernest Hemingway’s ‘Fiesta’ or ‘The Sun Also Rises’ (the US title used for the film) which I thought I had but on looking on the shelves found I hadn’t. I’ve now got a copy and added it to the website which now makes nine different/variant covers from 1949 to 1974. I often wonder why PAN felt the need to change some covers while happily used the same one on other titles for many years, I’m think of the ‘PAN Book of Card Games’ which was used from 1960 through to the early 90s.

Well my ‘Author of the Week’ idea didn’t last long so it is now changed to ‘Random Author’ when I remember! This time it is James Henry Stanley Barlow who was born on the 1st December 1921 in Kings Norton, Birmingham which I didn’t know. Nice to find a local author from only a few miles away. In 1939 he was even closer when he moved to 51 Crossway Lane, Kingstanding and was employed as a meter clerk with the Birmingham Corporation Water Department as was my uncle, I wonder if they ever met? After travelling around, including Australia, he finally moved to Beechmount, Sarsfield Court, Glanmire, Cork where he died on the 30th January 1973. He is buried in St. Lappans Church, Little Island, Co. Cork. As far as I can ascertain PAN published six of his thirteen titles. Click HERE to see these titles.

Popped down to Cheltenham to pick up several original cover artworks by Hans Helweg. I managed to do it before the new travel restrictions came in – my wife always said it would all end in tiers!. I shall be adding them over the next few wekss and HERE is the first one. This one was a ‘freebie’ as the paint is flaking so I’ve kept it in a cellophane sleeve but does anyone know how to stabilise it?

Keith Scaife Update, Brian Sanders and Tony Whitehorn

After visiting Keith Scaife recently I put together a page showing the original artworks for his ‘Jack Higgins’ covers using photographs I took. It wasn’t until Keith sent me much better photographs that I realised I had forgotten one! Click HERE to see the page which now has ‘Dillinger’ and the other covers as photographed by Keith.

It’s odd how Google will suggest random things based on searches but from a while ago. Having mentioned Brian Sanders recently, due to the sad loss of Lizzie, it decided I was interested in the stamps Brian designed – and surprisingly I was! I think it was five sets for the UK plus others for countries around the world. The five subjects here were British Police, Fishing, Youth Organisations, RAF and The British Council. Looking on eBay I cannot understand how sellers can make money as I bought all five sets for between 99p and £1.50 each including postage. The face value of one mint set bought for 99p comes to £1.04 and they can still be used legally so definitely quids in. I’m added then to Brian’s Page as they arrive in the post.

Having mentioned Tony Whitehorn, the ‘blurb’ writer at PAN in the early 60’s I can now put a face to the name as thanks to Tony and his son Stephen his reminiscences now have a couple of photos. One is from his days at PAN while the other is from a couple of years ago. In emails Tony mentioned another couple of titles he particularly remembers. Of the first he says “The most important copy of course was that on the back cover, which with the artwork was the main means of selling the book. With crime fiction I often tried to create a sense of foreboding, sometimes by painting an innocuous, even idyllic, scene before subverting it with a disturbing note — as with ‘Evil Under the Sun’, one of the best Christies” Regarding the second title Tony says “I remember that the last ever blurb I wrote for Pan was on my last day. It was for another Alan Burgess book, ‘The Lovely Sergeant” Tony is not very well at the moment so we wish him all the best for a speedy recovery.
UPDATE Just heard from Steven Kennedy, the editor of ‘Macmillan Together’ who kindly sent a copy of Tony’s article as it appeared in the magazine. Click HERE to see it.

Colour Blind?, Signed Pamela Belle and Jules Videos

A few people round our way need to test their colour vision after the traffic lights sequence on the local common was changed resulting in several accidents. Red means ‘STOP’ and green means you can ‘GO’! When I saw ‘The Luscher Colour Test’ I thought great but it turns out not to be about colour blindness but is more trying to analyse you from your colour choices. Most of the suggestions tend to be on the depressing side!

Having recently acquired the original artwork by Kevin Tweddell for Pamela Belle’s ‘Heron’ series trilogy I couldn’t resist buying a bundle of her titles including a couple of signed copies. The PAN title is Moon in the Water’ while the other is a hardback edition of ‘Survival of the Free’ signed by all the ‘Belles’ I contacted Pamela to check this and she kindly replied;
“Hi, Tim, sorry for the delay in replying, I’ve been busy writing! I didn’t know there was a Pan Paperback Collectors group – do you aim to collect every variation of every book? Quite a task, I think! With regard to the identity of ‘Diana’, I suspect that was my mother’s great friend who lived in Edinburgh (I can’t remember her surname, I only met her once, when I was 10). She died quite a long time ago, well before my mother (who died in 2005) and she and her husband had no children, so I’m not sure who had the books after they passed on. I think I must have changed the note about the poems, and then my mother sent the books to Diana as a gift. Sylvia and Brian Belle were my parents, and Penelope is my sister. I hope this helps, if you would like to know anything else then let me know”
In the photo Pamela is holding the hardback edition of ‘The Chains of Fate’ which was published by PAN and later Severn House Publishing with the same Kevin Tweddell cover artwork as the paperbacks

For some reason or other, while watching a recent episode of ‘Bargain Hunt’ (weird watching it with COVID social distancing in place) I was reminded of Jules Burt and his videos, now why could that have been? I have studied it intensely and still cannot see a PAN.

If you have not yet found Jules videos then you certainly should have a look as they cover so many different topics and several are PAN books related. Here are direct links to a few of them;

1) PAN Numbers 1 to 100
2) PAN Numbers 101 to 200
3) PAN Numbers 201 to 300
4) PAN Numbers 301 to 439
5) PAN Numbers G1 to G125
6) PAN Numbers G126 to G250
7) PAN Numbers G251 to G400

There are many more PAN related topics and new videos are appearing three times a week so make sure you visit often.