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

Book Fair Visit, A Standee, Georgette Heyer and JAWS 2

If all goes according to plan this blog should launch itself as I am hoping to be down in Kent for a long weekend after having had a successful visit to London for the Paperback and Pulp Fair. The only problem might have been the availability of trains with a strike the day before causing disruption to the Sunday timetable. If I get there I will report back next week otherwise it will be a day out with the family somewhere but probably without books!

I was pleased to find this standee for The Death of a President by William Manchester and will admit to spending a bit more than I would have usually done but it was unusual. The one difference is that it doesn’t have ‘Z’ on the spine like the real thing. ‘Z’ means it cost 15/0

I am currently scanning in as many of the Georgette Heyer PAN covers from around the 80’s as I can find but I was interested to spot this “As Heyer’s popularity increased, other authors began to imitate her style. In May 1950, one of her readers notified her that Barbara Cartland had written several novels in a style similar to Heyer’s, reusing names, character traits and plot points and paraphrased descriptions from her books, particularly ‘A Hazard of Hearts’ which borrowed characters from ‘Friday’s Child’  and ‘The Knave of Hearts’ which took off ‘These Old Shades’. Heyer completed a detailed analysis of the alleged plagiarisms for her solicitors, and while the case never came to court and no apology was received, the copying ceased” I was sure PAN must have published the two Cartland titles mentioned as they had 133 titles in their list but seems I was wrong. I did find them in Arrow as a poor substitute although the covers are by William Francis Marshall who painted the ones for PAN and other publishers.

Our local library has been given dozens of Reader’s Digest condensed books which I’ve been going through to find matches to the untitled Jack McCarthy artwork I bought a while ago and so far have found three. What also struck me, and I think I’ve said this before, was the number of well known artists who also painted so many PAN covers. I did buy the ones that went with the artwork plus one which mentioned the upcoming publication of JAWS 2′ by PAN. This year it is 45 years since it was published on the 19th April. After buying those four that’s a pound I’ll never see again!

Unused Covers, ‘Big’ Books, Russell Braddon and Baddesley Clinton Bookfair.

This is an advert for two upcoming PAN titles from 1986 but neither published editions used the covers shown as far as I can ascertain. The Crocus List’ is close to the one used but ‘Cover Story’ shown is from the hardback Collins edition with a cover by Brett Breckon.

I can never resist a bargain and when I saw this 1980 edition of Whitaker’s ‘British Books in Print’ it just called out to me. I think the carriage alone must have cost more than the price I paid for them. They do remind me of the old joke about the book ‘How To Be Taller’ in two volumes, one for each foot! PS The ruler is in inches. Plenty of PANs listed, might need to check out which ones I’ve not got, shouldn’t take too long!

I recently picked up a rebound copy of The Naked Island’ signed by Russell Braddon which I’ve added to the page which now has two signed copies.  Wikipedia states “Russell Reading Braddon (25/01/1921 60 20/03/1995) was born in Sydney, Australia and was the son of a barrister. He served in the Malayan campaign during World War II. He was held as a prisoner of war by the Japanese in Pudu and Changi prisons and on the Thailand-Burma Railway between 1942 and 1945. During this time he met Ronald Searle, whose Changi sketches illustrate ‘The Naked Island’ After the war, he went on to study law at University of Sydney but failed to obtain a law degree. In 1949, Braddon moved to England after suffering a mental breakdown and followed by a suicide attempt. Doctors attributed this breakdown to his POW experiences, and urged him to take a year to recuperate. He described his writing career as “beginning by chance”. The Naked Island, published in 1952, was one of the first accounts of a Japanese prisoner of war’s experience and became ver million copies seller. Braddon went on to produce a wide range of works, including novels, biographies, histories, TV scripts and newspaper articles. In addition, he was a frequent broadcaster on British radio and television. He died in 1995 at his home in Urunga, New South Wales, having returned to Australia two years before”

I was really pleased to see the NT Baddesley Clinton Book Fair is returning after a couple of years absence. I was not so pleased to see it starts on the 29th July, the day we are travelling down to the family in Kent to hopefully get to London on the 30th for the ‘Paperback and Pulp Fair’ It runs until the 13th August so I’m sure we can get there and, hopefully, there will still be a few books left.

Susan Howatch, John Drake and TOPLINERS

Golden PAN Award winning author Susan Howatch was 83 on the 14th July and I had intended to have scanned all her PAN covers by then for this blog but others things came along and so is still a work in progress, hopefully next week. Howatch was born in Leatherhead in Surrey as Susan Elizabeth Sturt in 1940. In 1964 she emigrated to the USA and married Joseph Howatch when she began writing, In 1980 she left her husband and returned to live near the cathedral in Salisbury in the UK. According to Wikipedai she has now returned to the place of her birth, Leatherhead but has her in London. Howatch was awarded a Golden PAN for selling a million copies of Penmarric and I am trying to contact to see if I can get a picture of her holding the statue. It was adapted into a BBC television series in 1979. I did find this line, which I love, in a review “Everyone in the book, almost, comes to a bad end but not nearly soon enough” Click HERE for an article about her time in the States. The mention of Salisbury Cathedral brings back painful memories of the Richard Chopping exhibition and my subsequent downfall!

With a trip to Portmerion coming up I thought I would look out my Patrick McGoohan / John Drake related badges and see what titles I had from PAN to go with them. I’m just going to include one today and I’ll save the others until I get back. This is a bit of cheat as it is from Boxtree, one of PAN Macmillan’s imprints. It claims to be two books in one and covers ‘Danger Man & The Prisoner’ or ‘The Prisoner & Danger Man’ depending on how you pick it up. Below is a scene from Danger Man, episode 18 from1965 with a very familiar PAN title.

I collect TOPLINERS whenever I see them as originally they were a joint PAN/Macmillan publication for reluctant teenage readers but eventually became just Macmillan. For some reason or other, and why I stopped collecting them for a while, the prices sky rocketed but seem to have come down again apart from the usual few over optimistic sellers. My latest one is Men at War’ by Aidan Chambers who is probably better know for his ghost story compilations. Looking at the page of the covers some will enlarge if you click on them but I think a rescan is definitely called for.

Rona Jaffe Again, PAN Rupa and a Mistake?

While spending a couple of days away in the camper I popped into the sites information room where there was all of six books on the shelf. What surprised me was that one was ‘The Best of Everything’ by Rona Jaffe proclaiming ‘As seen on Mad Men’ but it was a Penguin 2011 edition referencing the PAN edition! I think it will be going to an National Trust bookshop shortly!

RUPA is an Indian publishing company I have mentioned a couple of times before but since then I have been actively tracking down the titles they published by arrangement with PAN. It was a bit weird in that I ordered ‘Outbreak’ from the sellers photos showing it to be one I wanted but when it arrived it was just the PAN edition. I contacted the seller who wanted to know where I had found the information about the PAN Rupa edition! He is looking for it but I don’t hold out much hope. I have also found another couple listed on WorldCat but not out the in the wild. To see the editions I have found so far click HERE. As usual if you know of any more please comment or email.

A big ‘Thank you’ to eagle eyed PAN Fan Jeremy Birch who pointed out something I had never noticed before. He set me the task to find the mistake on the spine of G242 ‘A Secret Understanding’ by Merle Miller. It took me a little while but then it became so obvious – the logo faces the wrong way. I’ve looked along the shelves but can’t spot another. PAN Piper logos face right and later PAN logos do as well but all the early ones in yellow face left. The cover artists often painted the logo as well to be stuck on but as David Tayler did many covers for PAN I would be surprised if he got it wrong.

James E McConnell, Hans Helweg and Dictionaries.

I was really pleased to come back from a couple of days away to find my copy of ‘Minatare Masterpieces’ by Steve Chibnall had arrived. It’s a very lavishly illustrated (and weighty) tome and I was going to try and take some photos but found a video that shows more than I could. Click HERE to see it. My only complaint about my copy is that it looks like it has been dropped as the lower spine is wrinkled. I have one piece of McConnell artwork, the cover for ‘The Bounty Man’ by Mike M’Craken in the Western Library series and painted in 1951.

I’m always on the lookout for any books with covers by Hans Helweg and although this is not PAN it was painted at the same time as Hans was working on PAN covers and shows how versatile those artists were. It is ‘Boy on a Sheep Trail’ and is one of the 71 titles in the SRA Pilot Library series. Just wondering if Hans painted any of the others?

PAN always had an eclectic mix of non-fiction titles with several dictionaries on various subjects amongst them. I have taken a few of the ones on shelves to put on a page HERE. I do have more and will add them when I find the boxes I stored them in as most were too big to go on the shelf.

Just heard something which could upset a lot of peoples plans. There are planned train strikes on the 28th and 29th July, the day before the ‘Paperback and Pulp Fair’ in London on the 30th and they say this could disrupt services on the Sunday morning. looks like it is a case of wait and see.