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

John Raynes, Pavanne /Picador and ‘White Spines’

While looking through some duplicates deciding which to pass on to a National Trust secondhand bookshop I found a postcard of French Chateaus. This reminded me of a piece of artwork I bought off eBay a couple of years ago by a well  known PAN cover artist, namely John Raynes. I was the only bidder and looking back it cost me £30 which was a real bargain as it came in a nice frame and the size (60cm x 30cm) means it fits perfectly over a door. Just Googling I’ve spotted several of John’s artworks around the mid £1,500 mark with one at nearly £6,000! Click on the postcard to see the artwork of the Chateau at Chinon.

PAN were quite consistent in naming their imprints beginning with ‘P’ with ‘Piccolo’ and ‘Young Piper’ for children’s titles and ‘Pavanne’, ‘Picador’ and ‘Piper’ for adult titles although ‘Picador’ could have been ‘Primrose’ as this was originally suggested. 
I’ve previously mentioned trying to findPavanne’ titles where the name is under the PAN logo before PAN used just the Pavanne name. I do like the artwork on some of the Pavanne’ titles but dislike others. I’ll add a few of my favourites shortly but here are a couple of ‘Pavanne’ tiles given away with ‘Options’ in 1983/4. When I saw ‘Options’ my first thought was the chocolate drink but probably more likely the magazine which started in 1982.

I emailed one of the artists who painted a cover for a ‘Pavanne’ title who rang me up the same day. They  asked me NOT to include their cover as they really didn’t like it and it was not the sort of thing they did now. I’ve promised not to name names!

Having watched Jules Burt’s latest excellent video of collectors talking about their collections I was obliged to buy a copy of ‘White Spines’ by Nicholas Royale as I was impressed to find another ‘Picador’ collector but on checking I only have a tenth of his 1,000 plus. With this year being the 50th anniversary of ‘Picador’ I’ve got out the sets published for their 30th anniversary set which had ‘XXX’ on the spines above ‘Picador’, the 40th anniversary set which had ’40’ under ‘Picador’ and the 50th anniversary set which had ‘Collection’ under ‘Picador’

Fishing, Nevil Shute and a miscellany from Lyn Kirby

Having got football out of the way a few weeks ago I am now going to do the same with another subject I’m not really into, namely fishing. I quite like the idea of using it as an excuse to sit on a bank and read a book but as for actually catching a fish this doesn’t really appeal. I know it is one of the most popular past times world wide so it’s probably just me. I think the first time PAN got into angling was in 1967 with the publication of ‘Fishing’ by Richard Arnold and numbered M203. It was around 1973 that PAN started the ‘PAN Angler’s Library’ of which I have found 14 titles label as such but there may be more.

There was a post on the ‘Shutists’ Facebook page where someone had noticed a mistake in the list of books by Nevil Shute in the 1973 6th printing of ‘An Old Captivity’ It includes ‘Gold From Crete’ which is by C S Forester and not Shute. I have looked in both the 5th and 7th printings and it is not there but I will looking in other titles from around that time.

Having written about Lyn Kirby, who worked at PAN in the 80s, she sent me a few snippets which I’m happy to include here;
1) Lyn’s boss was David Bleasdale, Production Director, and who was used as the model for the cover of ‘The Autobiography of Henry VIII’ which was painted by Gino d’Achille
2) When Lyn left she was presented with a dummy book of Douglas Adam’s latest in the Hitchhiker series ‘So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish’
3) Lyn was tasked with sourcing the lenticular picture on the box and the hardback of ‘So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish’ and as with most things plastic back then it probably came from Hong Kong.

4) Lyn was asked  to do the colour correction on the cover of Wicked Willie. She wrote “The pink of his face had to match the pink of his ahem, Willie and that was something I was a bit embarrassed about telling my repro house at my tender age!”
5) It’s a small world as Lyn is a room guide at Nuffield Place and you never know we may have met each other when we were down there recently for a family gathering.

‘Mandingo’, ‘The Karamanov Equations’ and Ben Ostrick

This weeks original artwork is for ‘Mandingo’ by Kyle Onstott that was used for at least five editions from 1961 through to 1974 when PAN changed to a film tie-in. I can’t find it listed in Hans Helweg’s ledger but he was getting paid £50 16s for other titles at this time. While looking at other editions from various publisher I was intrigued to see this 1963 Spanish edition printed by Luis de Caralt in Barcelona. I’d like to think it was done in homage to the one Hans painted  and not a poor quality ‘rip off’

While looking at the cover of The Karamanov Equations I was reminded of another couple of cover but may be not as close as I thought. I’ve also included a copy of the script for a film that never made it to the ‘big screen” I think this book by Marshall the only title of his that PAN published.

A couple of years ago I mentioned tracking down the location of a plaque for artist Ben Ostrick (who painted for PAN as J. Oval) and it turned out to be in Australia. This was a bit too far to go just to take a photo but I’m pleased to say a big “Thank you” to Olivia Wallace,​ Customer Care Support at Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park who kindly took the trouble to photograph the plaque for me. She apologised for it  as it was high up on the wall but there was no need as it is fine. 

RIP Shirley Hughes, Incorporation, Pop Up Bookshop Again and Congratulations.

I was sorry to hear of the death of (Winfred) Shirley Hughes at the age of 94 on 25th February 2022. She  was born on 16th July 1927 and grew up on the Wirral at West Kirby, a town I know well.. Shirley was the youngest of three daughters born to bargain store magnate TJ Hughes. She won many awards including the Kate Greenaway twice, in 1977 and 2003 and is probably most fondly remembered for her character ‘Alfie’ I have only found seven PAN/Piccolo titles with a connection to Shirley but I am still looking,  I have put these on a page HERE

While looking for something completely different I got a reference to Companies House and a link to the ‘Certificate of Incorporation’ for PAN Books. I thought that might be interesting but if you click on the link to the document HERE you’ll see why I was disappointed!

It was good to see the pop up bookshop back in Wolverhampton again last week,. I nearly missed it but managed the last day and came away with half a dozen books plus some first day covers with stamps by Brian Sanders for only a couple of pounds.. It is good to have it back after quite a long break and hoping for many more ‘pop ups’ this year. Speaking to the organisers they say the shopping centre are very pleased to have them there as they bring in customers that might not normally visit, me incliuded! Another plus side is we now have the direct bus to Wolverhampton reinstated even though the timetable is a bit erratic.

Not PAN but I couldn’t let the news of a near neighbour (does 7 houses between us count as near neighbiour?)  Daniel Wiles pass without congratulating him on his new book. He has been included in the 10 best debut novelists of 2022 for his book ‘Mercia’s Take’ I have a oopy and hopefully can bump into Daniel to get him to sign it after I have read it. Just wondering if my wife taught him at primary school?