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

‘Octopussy’, A Little Something I Liked and Brian Cooper

On my ‘Wanted but not at any price list’ was a Canadian copy of X668 ‘Octopussy’ and I eventually found one from a Canadian seller who wasn’t asking postage that was several times more than the cost of the book! With so many delays in the mail I had actually forgotten about it and so was pleasantly surprised when it arrived last week to to find it was a copy that I would call ‘good+’ and happy to put on the shelf next to the UK printing.

I like to look for any book publishers advertisements and I couldn’t resist this standee from Sampson Lowe. It measures about 8″ X 6″ and is cut out of plywood. I would love to find a copy with a dustjacket to match but none of the ones I have found so far does. I’m not sure of the date as the only edition which is listed with a dustjacket by artist Charles Edmund Brock (1870 to 1938) is from 1908 but the price of 7/6 is more like the 1935 edition might have cost.

This week the sketches from Hans Helweg are for M81 ‘A Touch of Thunder’ by Brian Newman Cooper (1919 to 2007) He was born in Stockport, Cheshire and was an author and Head of the History Department, Bolsover School, Derbyshire until his retirement in 1979.. He is the creator of ‘Lubbock and Tench’, a retired Detective Chief Inspector and a Detective Chief Inspector in England. As far as I can find he only had two of his eighteen(?) books published by PAN, this one and ‘The Van Langeren Girl’

Hans Helweg, a couple of ‘Look a Likes’ and ‘The Tudors’

Just to show these pages are not just thrown together(!) this weeks cover by Hans Helweg is one I bought last week plus I also have some of his sketches to go with it, namely ‘The Exile’ by Pearl Sydenstricker Buck. Hans painted many covers for Pearl Buck titles and I now have the artwork for ‘Death in the Castle’ plus several others I’ll include in the next few blogs. I also now have the artwork for I Leap Over The Wall’ and ‘The Tribe That lost Its Head’ which I’ve featured before and I have now added it to their pages. I have only just noticed that the same elements were used in the 1966 edition M4 of ‘The Tribe That lost Its Head’  so presumably also by Hans Helweg?

I am often surprised by the similarity of covers but then again I suppose if they are to truly representative of the narrative they could be ‘look a likes’ It was while scanning ‘Jamaica White’ I looked at other editions and saw the Batam cover from 1968 and wondered if Hans Helweg based his on it? The others were for Alathea and Mythago Woods’ where the trees in the middle are so similar even down to the kink in the one trunk! What do you think? Click HERE to see them. The scan left is of the back cover of the Bantam edition of ‘Jamaica White’, definitely an attention grabbing blurb.

This weeks Jean Plaidy series is The Tudors’ series and for once one of the covers gives an artist credt, namely Stuart Bodek, who has been mentioned several times before. It appears PAN published seven of the eleven titles so if any one knows if they also did ‘Katharine, the Virgin’, ‘The Shadow of the Pomegranate’, ‘The King’s Secret Matter’ and ‘Mary, Queen of France’ I’d love to know but if not ‘Why not?’

Had a most enjoyable visit last week to the family in Kent but disappointing in I found nothing that I could in anyway relate to PAN Books no matter how hard I tried to contrive something!

‘Animal Stories’, Artwork, another Plaidy Series and ‘Tricycle Tim’

This weeks Hans Helweg sketch if for the cover of ‘Animal Stories’ edited by John Montgomery. I was intrigued to see Berkley Books had published this as ‘Selections from the PAN Book of Animal Stories’Montgomery also wrote three books in the Foxy series published by PAN as Piccolo titles. plus ‘The Best Cat Stories’ as PAN.

After a meeting at a motorway services I am now the proud owner of another fifteen original artworks by Hans Helweg of which the titles will be revealed over upcoming blogs. In case anyone was wondering the reason for the motorway was because it was half between us.

This weeks Jean Plaidy series is a short one, just three titles in ‘The Normans’ series and once again no luck trying to track down the cover artists.

Just out of curiosity I looked up Prudence Eaton Seward, the cover artist for the ‘Foxy‘ series and am now trying to discover if she is still with us as I would love to make contatc. She was born in Kebnsington, London in October 1926 with a lot of the references such as “She lived at Syleham Hall Lane, Wingfield, Suffolk” make it sound as it she is not with us anymore? She painted covers for other Piccolo titles including the ‘Sula’ series of four titles. I’m really tempted to get a copy of ‘‘Tricycle Tim’ for which Prudence did the cover as it could have been me on my trike back in 50s.

‘Jamaica White’ plus another HH, Jean Plaidy and Louis Shabner

This weeks Hans Helweg sketches are for ‘Jamaica White‘ by Harold Underhill. I was pleased to find three sketches that corresponded to the three elements on the cover. A couple of days ago I received a copy of the Puffin edition of North Against The Sioux’ by Kenneth Ulyatt with a cover by Hans and it seems to be very similar to a ‘rough’ painting I have, especially the chief on the horse on the back cover. I’ve added it to all the other childens covers using the ‘bookmark’ option so I hope the link jumps straight to it eventually!

While looking at Pat Owen covers I noticed he did several for Jean Plaidy (Eleanor Alice Burford Hibbert, born London, 1906 and died at sea between Greece and Egypt, 1993) so I decided to sort them by series. This was easier said than done as PAN did not publish all the titles in a series and not all series. This weeks selection is the Georgian Series of which PAN did publish all ten titles. I’ve no managed to sort any of the artists but interestingly for the first six titles each chapter has a illustration as a heading as below by Balint Stephen Biro better known as Val Biro.

Having mentioned Stuart Webb and his research into Louis Shabner previously I was pleased to get an email from him to say his book ‘The Art of Louis Shabner’, better know to PAN Fans as SHELDON, will be published by Telos in December.

Heinz Konsalik, Pat Owen and ‘Prester John’

I have to admit I had never heard of Heinz Konsalik (Heinz Günther May 28th, 1921 to October 2nd, 1999) until I spotted one of his titles published by PAN. On looking for others I have picked up five of his six romance titles plus a war one. These cost a couple of pounds so why are sellers asking a silly price for the one it looks like I’m not going to get, well not at those prices.

The New York Times said “He was one of the most popular postwar novelists in Germany, whose books have sold more than 80 million copies worldwide” What stood out for me was how bad the covers were! I’ll leave you to see if you agree with me when you click HERE.

As I’m sure you know Pat Owen was another prolific PAN cover artist and I am very grateful to Pat’s wife Sue for sending me a list of his covers from his ledgers. Sue has promised me some photos and a brief biography which I will add to the page as soon as it arrives. I am currently going down the list making the titles into links and recanning the covers so it will be an on going project. We know there are even more and will add them as we find the, The Robe’ wasn’t in the list but I know it is one of Pat’s as I have the original artwork.

This weeks artwork by Hans Helweg is a couple of preliminary ideas for the 1972 edition of Prester John by John Buchan. I’ve added it to the earlier PAN editons from the 50s.