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 David, ‘Ed McBain’ at last, Signed Printers Proofs and ‘The Reef’

I’ve just heard from Colin Larkin the sad news his brother, David,  passed away last Tuesday. Colin said he had only been speaking to him on Saturday as David had just got his copy of ‘Cover Me’ I’ll try and do a blog about his time as Artistic Director at PAN in the 70s and 80s later.

After spending more time (and money) that they justify I’ve decided to publish my updated page of Ed McBain titles although not finished but then again will it ever be?. The problem has been, like the Travis McGee titles, that PAN often just added a new cover to an old text block without amending the date so dating becomes difficult. This time I’ve put them under title in writing date order and I know there are still several variants to add as I have images but usually shown by sellers as the hated ‘stock’ photo! If I get another 1981 copy of ‘The Empty Hours’ clearly listed as the 1992 edition with photo of same! Luckily have got my money back on them all but I’d rather have the book I was expecting.

I spotted a couple of what I though were signed books on eBay but it turns out they were actually printers proofs signed by one of the authors namely Dan Morgan. They were for two of the four titles in theVenturer Twelve’ series, three by Dan and John Kippax while the fourth was a title just by Kippax. Still no idea who the cover artist might be, anyone know?

This weeks Hans Helweg artwork is for ‘The Reef’ by Keith Wheeler. Although Wheeler wrote several books PAN only seems to have published two, ‘The Reef‘ and ‘Peaceable Lane’ which might have a cover by Pat Owen? I like the way the artwork still has its colour ‘swatch’ for the title as this sort of thing, like the numbers, logos and even the titles, have got lost over the years.

‘Portrait of a Young Man Drowning’, ‘Testament’ and ‘Sherlock’

This weeks artwork by Hans Helweg is Portrait of a Young Man Drowning’ by Charles Perry (1924–1969) He was an African American author who was born in Savannah, Georgia. This was his only published novel intended as a homage to James Joyce’s ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ The book was made into the film ‘Six Ways to Sunday’ from 1997 staring Debbie Harry and Isaac Hayes.

Having mentioned ‘Testament’ by David Morrell before, I was interested to see a copy of ‘Testament – The Unpublished Prologues’ on offer but as usual I should have done a little more research. The seller listed it as by PAN so I bought it but turns out it is from Subterranean Press but on the plus side it is a signed limited edition so one for the archives.

Another bit of ephemera I found was a bookmark listing several Sherlock Holmes titles now in ‘uniform editions’

Although it lists ‘The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes’ and ‘The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes’ I can’t seem to find any record of PAN actually publishing ‘Casebook’ in the mid 70s but ‘Memoirs’ is listed in a box set that is supposedly ‘in the post’ to me from the US as I type, I’ll update if it arrives but if any one can help with the other title …..?

‘Cover Me’, Raymond Chandler Matchbook, ‘Christy’ and an Update.

After 30 years of planning and research I am really pleased to see that ‘Cover Me’ by Colin Larkin is NOW available to purchase from Telos Publishing I have to declare an interest as I’ve know about this since 2004 and I am credited as Chief Consultant. I don’t think I’m down for a cut (am I Colin?) but in spite of that I would recommend you buy a copy anyway. Colin has used his extensive collection of nearly 600 original artworks as the basis and the focus is on the artists themselves. I have read it at least twice since then and really enjoyed immersing myself in those high quality images that leap off the page. Colin has produced a magnificent work that does justice to all those unsung, well up to now, heroes of the paint brush. I managed to put Colin in touch with artist Derek Stowe, Kathy Ford (Sam Peffer’s Great Niece) and he has also used some of my biography of Hans Helweg plus there are plenty of plugs for the website. The cover is based on The D.A. Takes a Chance’ by Sam ‘PEFF’ Peffer and the photo below shows Kitty posing on their own bed and candlewick bedspread.

I like it when I come across something PAN books related especially if it’s ephemera that would normally be thrown in a bin. This time it was a matchbook with some Raymond Chandler titles listed on the inside and a quote from ‘Farewell My Lovely’  on the outside. The quote is a bit odd in that as far as I can tell PAN never published this title! Click on the matchbook to see the the other side.

The matchbook was made by Bouldens of Southampton (choose Bouldens in the drop down manufacturer link) who specialised in these. It seems odd they mainly produced them for local hostelries but surprisingly the ‘House of Commons’ although not other national companies like PAN. I wonder if they did any others?

I hadn’t noticed until I went to scan the section from the book that the text in that and on the matchbook is slightly different as in one the barman ‘stooped’ but in the other he ‘stopped’ The former is the correct version.

This weeks piece of original artwork from Hans Helweg I recently acquired is for ‘Christy’ by Catherine Marshall. As far as I can ascertain this is the only one of her books published by PAN although they list three others on the back. Her full name was Catherine Sarah Wood Marshall LeSourd (27/09/1914 to 18/03/1983) and she wrote over thirty works of fiction and non fiction with ‘A Man Called Peter‘ made into a film in 1955 and ‘Christy’ a TV Movie and Series in 1994.

Just heard last night from Kathy Ford (Sam Peffer’s Great Niece) to say she was successful in her trip to Islington on the 3rd of November which would have been Sam’s 99th Birthday. She wrote All went smoothly with reuniting Kit and Sam. The weather was dry and sunny and not too cold.  I attach a pic of the headstone and flowers following the interment. Kit loved sweet peas and lily of the valley which she cut from the garden and dotted round the house in vases when they were in bloom, I can still remember the perfume from them” RIP Sam and Kathy


‘The White Rabbit’, Paul Davis and RIP Scruff

This weeks artwork from Hans Helweg is for ‘The White Rabbit’ the story of Wind Commander F F E Yeo Thomas by Bruce Marshall. I was pleased to see it was one of the few where Hans signature is quite obvious often having to search for a little HH hidden away somewhere. The acetate overlay has not stood the test of time well becoming very dark, like most of them from the 1960’s, but at least it is still attached. The artwork underneath appears as fresh and vibrant as it probably was when it was painted.

In one of those weird coincidences I heard from artist Paul Davies in Cheltenham, which was also where the Helweg artwork came from, to say he has published two books in support of a local charity, Longfield.. He is selling them at cost and if you are interested you can find details HERE.

Last week was a sad one in that we had to make the decision as to whether or not to have our elderly cat Scruff, who was in his late teens, put to sleep. The saddest part was he was still lively but just couldn’t eat due to problems with his kidneys and ulcers related to this. We like to think, that since he decided we would do as a home in 2009, he made the most of his time with us. Here is Scruff, the black and white one, with his possible daughter behind him, the mother of the daughter in the foreground and ‘Lady’ the fox. We’ll all really miss your Scruff. XXX

Sam and Kitty Peffer, Alexander Cordell and Invisible Ink!

I heard from Kathy, Sam and Kitty Peffer’s Great Niece last week to say “Next week we are finally able to lay Kit to rest, next to her Sam, on his 99th birthday. Am not looking forward to the day, especially as I have to do the round trip to Islington Crematorium without being able to stop. I will be able to relax more knowing they are reunited” Sam was born on the 3rd November 1921 in Islington. He designed his memorial stone and left room for Kitty to be added when eventually the day would sadly come.

This weeks Hans Helweg artwork is not one but three covers all for the same author. George Alexander Graber (9 September 1914 – c. 9 July 1997) was born in Ceylon and died in Denbighshire and wrote under the pen name of Alexander Cordell. He was a prolific Welsh novelist and author of thirty acclaimed works which includes the ‘Welsh Trilogy’ published by PAN along with another three titles. My three artworks are the ones HERE that have a border with instructions around them which is part of their attraction.

If anyone could help there are several Invisible Ink books I would like to get including;
Codebreakers Deborah Manley
0330 295624 1986

Crazy Cook Anni Axworthy
0330 283774 1984

Galactic Invaders Naomi Games
0330 283782 1984

Invaders in Space Naomi Games
0330 286986 1985

Animal Magic Naomi Games
0330 295632 1986

Treasure Hunt Scoular Anderson
0330 303856 1988

Mystery Pictures 1 Michael Holt
0330 266543 1982

Mystery Pictures 2 Michael Holt
0330 280775 1983

Number Games 1 Michael Holt
0330 267493 1982

Number Games 2 Michael Holt
0330 281348 1983

Dinosaur Puzzle Book Richard Dawson
0330 303813 1988

Puzzle Book of Monsters Alison Boyle
0330 303821 1988

Animal Counting Book Deborah Manley
0330 303872 1988

Crazy Haunted Castle Peter Sims
0330 304658 1988

Christmas Fun Book Deborah Manley
0330 304666 1988

Zoo Fun Book Richard Dawson
0330 305166 1988

Spotty and Striped Puzzle Book Naomi Games
0330 298038 1987

Amazing Animal Puzzle Book Groom
0330 30383X 1988

Secret Agent’s Puzzle Book Alison Boyle
0330 303848 1988

A.B.C.Fun Book Deborah Manley
0330 303864 1988
I though I had found the ‘Spotty and Striped Puzzle Book’ but even though the seller told me it was available and they had posted it, it suddenly became unavailable as it was not up to their usual high standard. From some I’ve had off them it has never stopped them before! On the plus side I did find ‘Word Games 2’ so I’ve added it to the page HERE