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 www.tikit.net or www.panfans.club

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  www.tikit.net or www.panfans.club

Nile Bound, Hans Helweg? and Jeremy Birch

Most of the time I ignore bound copies of PANs as they are usually of the BYO (Bind Your Own) variety but this one on eBay I couldn’t resist as it appears to be a professional job. The title on the cover is from the paperback cover but they have gone to the trouble to deboss the section where it is afixed. The inscription inside reads ‘Stolen from Denis J McDowell’ and although I have nothing to back it up I’d like to think it is the Ulster artist who was born 1926 and died in 1990.


I’m still trying to match up the sketches and rough paintings I have from Hans Helweg with possible covers but I’ve been mainly looking at PANs although he did do a few covers for other publishers. I’m wondering if this might be his work for CORGI although I can’t see a signature or his intials?


Just to say thank you to fellow PAN Fan Jeremy Birch who is my unofficial ‘The Times’ press cuttings agent and regularly sends me a package of clippings. In the latest bumper batch they seem to show the newspapers continued fascination with all things related to ‘The Dam Busters’, James Bond and John Le Carre. Jeremy is currently reasearching as to whether ot not it is ‘The Dam Busters’ as PAN uses or ‘The Dambusters’, anyone who can help?


I’m hoping this blog will publish itself on time as I am currently staying at Warwick Castle for my birthday treat. This is the fifth time of booking as all the others have been scuppered by COVID rules and regulations.

‘The Book Guide’, Perry Mason and Spuds.

I had an email from Peter Miller asking if I would mind giving ‘The Book Guide’ a mention which I am more than happy to do. Peter wrote “There used to be an online secondhand bookshop guide run by Mike Goodenough at Inprint. I used to post frequent reviews. This site closed down a few years ago, to great lamentations from anyone like me who used it to inform our travels. It was resurrected last year in a new and improved version which retains all the data and reviews from the old site plus new updated information. The news hasn’t got around fast though, so the site creators have asked regular reviewers like me to try to spread the word” I use it a lot when I am travelling around as it lists secondhand bookshops in the UK and Ireland that are checked by ‘real people’ and with ‘real comments’ as to what they have found. It is very easy easy to navigate by county and welcomes suggestions for any shops not included or will remove one that might have gone out of business, something all too common these days. Please take a look and let them know if there is anything to change even if it is only for your local area.


Looking through a PAN catalogue from the 2nd December 1966 I saw a page promoting Perry Mason titles featuring the circles on the cover as above. It says there are 22 titles but I can only 17 in this format so as usual I am left wondering if they are also including earlier printings. Some are labelled as part of PAN’s ‘Best of American Crime Fiction’ series. I also have a couple of Gardner’s in the same style but featuring Terry Clane and Rob Trenton and not Perry Mason. Gardner wrote 86 Perry Mason cases out of his 127 titles in total although, as usual, there appears to be discrepancies in numbers either way. 


I do like the eclectic mix of titles published by PAN over the years such as ‘The Potato Cookbook’ In the book you will find ‘everything there is to know about potatoes from how they help with slimming, as an aphrodisiac, the breakfast pototo, potato picnics, flans and pies and fully illustrated!. While perusing this rivetting read I was reminded of a cartoon I quite liked in the latest copy of ‘Private Eye’ 

Farley Mowat, John Creasey and the National Trust

Back in April last year I made a page for Farley Mowat although I was still one title short. I had almost given up waiting for it to arrive from the States, having ordered it back in January, but being the optimist I though I’d give it a little more  time. The seller and I eventually decided it was lost and I got my money back but I was really pleased to find another copy appear just after Christmas. It was ‘Lost in the Barrens’ and although no picture it wasn’t expensive. When it arrived it had a brown paper cover (remember those on school books?) and removing it found it in excellent condition but sorry to say no cover artist credited. Now added to the page.


Looking on the shelf at the John Creasey editions I find I have eleven with Creasey’s name in the font as above. I am sure there must be more as some of these editions list other titles but are they in this style? Again we are back to sellers not showing images of the books but I supposed if you are dealing in thousands ‘stacking them high and selling them cheap’ it could be very time consuming. The eleven titles can be seen HERE.


Being convinced we would be in lockdown here in the UK at Christmas my wife and I went out visting local National Trust properties to make the most of our freedom. The visits were four fold 1) To get out in the fresh air 2) To see the houses decorated for Christmas, Attingham wins with 40 dressed Christmas trees 3) To drop off some books for their shops and hopefully 4) To buy a few more but not that successful in that department my wife was pleased to find!

One of the many book rooms at Attingham Park with a welcoming fire.
The one room at Shughborough Hall which has recently opened.
One of the book rooms at Moseley Old Hall.

The statistics are quite impressive and speaking to a volunteer at Shughborough he said they had only opened the shop in 2019 and in spite of all the closures they had made over £20,000 clear profit which they are allowed to do with as they want for their property. Baddesley Clinton Hall raised over  £50,000 just in their summer sale alone a few years back, hopefully it may return in 2022.

A Nice Mention, More Plaidy and James Herriot

Welcome to 2022 and to many more PAN related blogs.


On Christmas Eve I received a copy of the ‘Eden Valley Heritage’ magazine and was very pleased to see the article on PAN Books I was asked about several months ago. It was because of the link between PAN and Edenbridge which I had mentioned after a visit there to see the despatch centre a few years ago.


I’m going to finish off the Jean Plaidy titles over the next few blogs as you’ll be pleased to hear not there are not that many left. This time it’s for The Stuarts’


I was very pleased to come across a video uploaded to YouTube entitled ‘James Herriot – Portrait of a Bestseller as it showed Alf Wright, better know under his pen name of James Herriot, receiving his fourth ‘Golden PAN Award’ for selling a million copies of Vet In Harness I had some of these shots before as parts of the video were used in an edition ‘Countryfile’ on BBC1 in 2016 but not including the award ceremony. I’ve now included them on the page I made after visiting his museum in Thirsk.


Just noticed I hadn’t sent up the new version of the page for ‘The Devil Never Sleeps’ as mentioned last week. I added the page from the film publicity booklet where it refers to the PAN eiditon. In Germany the film was released as ‘China-Story’