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

Peter Cushing, John Raynes and Douglas Stuart

On our visit to the family in Kent last week we popped over to Whitstable for the day as they had a ‘town trail’ quiz for us to follow. What I did spot that was not included in it was a blue plaque on a house where Peter Cushing spent the last years of his life. This made me think of which covers featured Peter and so far I have only come up with two namely ‘The Man Who Finally Died’ and ‘Dr. Terror’s House of Horror’ Click on the plaque to see the house.

It was good to hear from Jim O’Brien again who was asking if I knew anything about artist Peter Charles who painted four covers for the ‘World’s End’ series. Sorry to say I don’t and searching doesn’t seem to throw up any useful answers, anyone out there who can help? Jim also mentioned he had got his article on John Raynes published in edition number 68 of ‘Illustration’ magazine from last summer. It’s a very good read especially as it features so many PAN covers plus a great picture of Sheila Raynes posing for a reference photo for ‘The Jesuit Trap’

I was pleased to get an email from Nicholas Blake to let me know PAN had awarded another of their ‘Golden PAN Awards’. This time to Douglas Stuart’ for his Booker Prize winning novel ‘Shuggie Bain’ which has now sold over a million copies. Douglas was presented with the award at a surprise ceremony on the 21st April. This just happened to be my wife’s birthday and I think I made it into her good books by giving her the original artwork for ‘Also Known As Sadzia! The Belly Dancer!‘ painted by Kay Hodges. which she had always said was one of her favourites.

‘Horror’ Letters, Jean Plaidy’s ‘Charles II’ and ‘Smilby’

Amongst the many items I acquired that were going to be included in the ‘PAN Book  of Horror Stories Scrapbook’ are several letters from Herbert van Thal to authors whose stories were either included or rejected. They are mostly from around the time of numbers books 14 to 17 and I have put a selection HERE

With a  few odd Plaidy titles to go I’ll add them to the site over the next few weeks so I can get them back on the shelves but I’m including Charles II’ as it is probably  the last series not featured up to now and has three titles. As usual most of the artists are unknow apart from ‘The Wandering Prince’ by Pat Owen although the other two are in the same style so could also be by him.

Francis Wilford-Smith (1927 to 2009) signed his work ‘Smilby’ which was contraction of his surname with his wife’s maiden name, Kilby. Wilford-Smith attended Warwick School and later the Camberwell School of Art in London, specialising in illustration and wood engraving. His cartoons have appeared in Punch, The New Yorker, Esquire, Playboy and the Saturday Evening Post. As far as I can tell he is only credited with one PAN cover Quote & Unquote’ I did wonder which came first, the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Quote… Unquote’ chaired by Nigel Rees and this book? It seems this book was first as the radio show wasn’t broadcast until the 4th January 1976 with the spin off books to follow. I was going to use a couple of examples of his cartoons but most of them are of a slightly saucy nature! (just Google his name!)

Jackie Moggridge, ‘Pavannes’ and ‘Picadors’, Hans Helweg and Ardizzone and RIP ‘Jack Higgins’

Jackie Moggridge was born Dolores Theresa Sorour; on the 1st March 1922 and died on the 7th January 2004. She was a pioneering pilot and the first woman to do a parachute jump in South Africa . Her ashes were due to be scattered from a Spitfire on the 7th April but it was postponed. It is interesting to see the same photo was used for the covers of all editions of her autobiography including PAN G238 ‘Woman Pilot’ painted by de Marco. Gerald Alexander Fahey (1919 to 1999) painted several covers for PAN but not under his real name but as de Marco. Fahey painted Sci/Fi covers in the fifties under his real name and one example is HERE I think his later covers were an improvement!

As promised here are a few ‘Pavanne’ and ‘Picador’ covers. The ‘Pavanne’ selection is from a style used around 1986 and has one which is not painted but is here as it includes my surname of which I have a small collection. The ‘Picadors’ are later but proof copies of which there seems to be an inordinate amount around. The majority of the ‘Pavanne’ covers are in ‘B’ format apart from the 1984 edition of ‘The Dud Avocado’ in ‘A’ format. I did order a 1987 edition which mysteriously got ‘lost in the post’ As this was the only copy I could find on the web I beginning to have my suspicions ……!!! I have included one back cover to show how they featured the writer and will do the others when I have time.

UPDATE I have now got a copy of the 1987 edition of ‘The Dud Avocado’ which did cost me a bit more than the ‘lost’ copy as I expected!

Always pleased to find another Hans Helweg and this time it’s for The Old Woman and her Pig’ in the Oxford University Press Structured Readers. Scroll down the page to see this and two more in the same series.

While Grandson William was visiting we were reading ‘Sarah and Simon and No Red Paint’ by Edward Ardizzone and I was taken by this drawing, it reminded me of my ‘library’

I was sorry to hear of the death of Henry ‘Harry’ Patterson (27/071929 to 09/04/2022) probably better know to PAN readers under his pen name of Jack Higgins. I have a couple of pages relating to his work with book covers HERE and Keith Scaife’s artwork HERE

Bookmark, Jules ‘Horror Books’ short video and ‘The Dark of the Sun’

It was lovely having the family up from Kent last week and with all the outings for Grandson William to Country Parks, Historic Buildings and Adventure Playgrounds there hasn’t been not much time for in depth blogging – no change there do I hear you say?

While looking through a copy of ‘The Dark of the Sun’ I was pleased when I found this in it making a change from the usual Prudential cards. It’s actually useful in that the end is perforated to tear off and cut to make a bookmark? It says you can get 5% interest which seems like a world away when you are lucky to get 0.05% these days.

Jules Burt has recently produced a short video looking at the 30 titles in the ‘PAN Book of Horror Stories’ series. This recommendation has nothing to do with the fact my website gets a name check! (Thanks Jules)

I hadn’t realised how many different editions of ‘The Dark of the Sun’ by Wilbur Smith PAN published since 1968 with several with the ‘PAN Man’ logo and at least three with the later ‘wavy lines’ I’ve only included the ones with the ‘Man’  and I am still trying to find the cover artist for the 1980 edition.