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

Private Eye, Original Artwork, Francis Marshall and ‘Look at Life’

Back in 1982/3 the satirical magazine ‘Private Eye’ ran a series of articles entitled ‘The World’s Greatest Publishers’. On the 3rd of June 1983 they got to number 38 ‘Pan Books’. Luckily I have been a subscriber to the magazine since 1971 and have saved all the magazines so I could eventually track down number 560 containing the article. You can read it by clicking HERE It mentions many familiar names linked to PAN over the years.

As it was my birthday last week I decided to treat myself to four pieces of original artwork by Glenn Steward. Thanks to Geoff West at The Book Palace, who did me a deal on the four, I will feature one a week with this weeks being PAN X709 ‘Mrs. Harris M.P’ which turned out to be not much larger than the book cover itself!

Having mentioned ‘The Colditz Story’ and ‘A Chieftain Finds Love’ last week there is a link between them. The cover of the Pat Reid title is signed ‘F V M’ while the Cartland is signed ‘F M’ and they are the same person, namely Francis Edward Blackemore Marshall (Born Bloomsbury, London 09/01/1901 and died Barnet, Hertfordshire 22/03/1980) Francis was the son of Francis Muston Marshall and Johanna Catherina Henriette Kempe. He studied at University College in London and Slade School of Fine Art. During World War II he was a camouflage officer with the Admiralty, having been educated on HMS Worcester. Marshall was noted for his witty, elegant drawings allied to the world of fashion. Francis married Margaret Simpson Chambers in Marylebone, Middlesex on the 14/02/1930 In later life he was a prolific cover illustrator for the novels of Barbara Cartland for several publishers and not just PAN. Among periodicals illustrated by him were Vogue’,Woman’s Journal’ and Harper’s Bazaar’ His books included Fashion Drawing’, ‘Magazine Illustration’ and ‘The London Book’ about aspects of London, the Victoria & Albert Museum textiles and dress collection holds his work and he exhibited at Walker’s Galleries and elsewhere but I’m left with one question unanswered and that is ‘Did the V in F V M actually stand for anything?’

‘Talking Pictures TV’ show old films and shorts and a recent one was ‘Cover Story’ in the ‘Look at Life’ series. The paperbacks were mainly Penguin but if you were very quick you might have been able to spot ‘Moonraker’ coming off the presses followed by two more titles I can’t identify as the premises printed PAN and Macmillan so they could have been a couple of theirs.

A Quartet of Signatures Special

I picked up four signed titles this week with one costing a little more than I was hoping to pay but then again that’s my fault for making my maximum bid what I did.

NUMBER 1 ‘Natural Causes’ by Henry Cecil from 1955. It is dedicated to a Hugh Manning who may or may not be the film and television actor.
Henry Cecil Leon was born in London (19/09/1902 to 23/05/1976) and wrote under the pen-names Henry Cecil and Clifford Maxwell. He became a British barrister, judge, and a writer of fiction about the British legal system with over 35 titles to his name.

NUMBER 2 ‘The Colditz Story’ by Pat Reid. It is dedicated to a ‘Paul’ and I could speculate it could be Paul Brickill as they were prisoners at Colditz together. I have several books I’ve got signed to me and they only say ‘Tim’ Maybe it should have my full name so in the future people will at least have a bit more information to guess who it might be?
Patrick Robert Reid, MBE, MC was born in India (13/11/1910 to 22/05/1990) As a British prisoner of war during the Second World War, he was held captive at Colditz Castle when it was designated Oflag IV-C. Reid was one of the few to escape from Colditz, crossing the border into neutral Switzerland in late 1942.

NUMBER 3 ‘A Chieftain Finds Love’ by Barbara Cartland is dedicated a ‘Justine’ but again no idea as to  whom that might be. The book came with a booklet about Barbara Cartland and has several pages of her titles and indicates which were published by which publishers. It marks 105 as by PAN but I have 133 so not that accurate a guide! You can see more of her signatures HERE
Dame Mary Barbara Hamilton Cartland, DBE, DStJ (09/07/1901 to 21/05/2000) was an English writer, known as the Queen of Romance, who published both contemporary and historical romance novels, the latter set primarily during the Victorian or Edwardian period. Cartland was a best-selling author worldwide having written over 700 books.

NUMBER 4 ‘My Friend Annie’ by Jane Duncan is flat signed with no dedication.
Jane Duncan (10/02/1910 to 20/10/1976) was the pseudonym of Scottish author Elizabeth Jane Cameron, best known for her ‘My Friends’ series of semi-autobiographical novels. She wrote 19 all together of which PAN published 14 and I’ll put them all on a page soon. She also wrote four novels under the name of her principal heroine Janet Sandison, and some children’s books.

“Operation Frankton”, Gordon Young, ‘Hat’ Westerns and Glenn Steward

It was while looking through some photos from October 2023 I came across this one I took of a plaque alongside the Mersey in Birkenhead. It was to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of ‘Operation Frankton’ which is probably better known as the book and film ‘The Cockleshell Heroes’ I wondered why it seem familiar and looking back I find I mentioned the 80th anniversary in 2022 but not the plaque.

Having documented Gordon Young’s experiences at PAN in a couple of articles I’ll just add this bit as it  mentions a silver PAN and what he got up to after leaving the company.
“During a visit to Malta he called on a wholesaler who had a silver gilt figure of Pan that caught his eye. He was offered it and gave it to Aubrey Forshaw who kept it on his desk until he presented it to Gordon in 1963 for selling a million books on behalf of Pan. In 1963 Gordon left to take over the family business but his love of books remained and after it was sold he became involved with King’s Bookshop in Lymington which he ran from 1984 to 1993″
King’s Bookshop, which opened in 1805,  was taken over by Ottackers in 2001 and then by Waterstones. Here is Gordon with the aforementioned statue of PAN and the flag from the ‘Laloun’ which he gave to the PAN archives.

Click HERE for part one, HERE for part two of Gordon’s story if you’ve not read it.

After talking to Rog Peyton, who is currently compiling a list of all the early PAN titles and their artists, I have rescanned all 12 ‘Hat Westerns’ and added the cover artists as he queried a couple. Most of them are by Pat Owen but the later covers are by Edward Mortelmans with his signature being on the extreme lower edge.

I have several cover artist I’m particularly fond of and amongst them is Glenn Steward having many examples of his work and not just for PAN. Whilst unsuccessfully trying to find out anything about Glenn one thing does crop up, that he was art editor of ‘Coureur, the magazine for the Sporting Cyclist’ and HERE is a couple of examples of artwork he did for it. I know he was still working in the 1990s but then …….? Can any one help?

Jack Higgins Signed, Arthur Eperon, a Zippo Lighter and a ‘Wants List’

It was nice to start the New Year by getting hold of a signed copy of ‘Passage by Night’ by Jack Higgins which I’ve added to the page which also features the original artwork I have by Keith Scaife.

A while back I featured some Arthur Eperon titles and promised to add some more but then had an unexpected sojourn in hospital. Now back a home being very bored as I’m not supposed to do several things, including driving, I’ve scanned in some more Eperon titles and added them to the existing page.

Having featured a couple of PAN branded items in the past I pushed the boat out on a Zippo lighter. Once again it was one of those ‘make an offer’ and from the way they came back accepting it almost instantly I wish I had gone a lot lower – how many times have I said that!

Fellow PAN collector, Bill Neal in Australia, contacted me last week to let me know he reckons there are 1,211 titles with the original PAN logo of which he has 1,204. He has sent me his ‘wants’ list and I’m wondering if any of us can help? They are 21 ‘The Black Spectacles‘, 156 ‘Nothing So Strange‘, 183 The Sea Tower’, G194 ‘Legend in the Dust’, G211 ‘Courage of the North’, M15 ‘The Run for Home’ and X103 ‘Showcase’

Happy New Year, Piccolo Explorers and Printers

Wishing all PAN Fans a happy 2024 and that you manage to find all those titles you have been after for so long. I’m hoping to cross a few off my list including a couple with elusive dust jackets and of course it goes without saying X705 ‘PAN Junior Crosswords Book 3’

Several years ago I though I had completed the Piccolo Explorers series with about 73 titles and editions. It was while looking for something else I came across a title in the Exploders series for Bible stories I’d not seen before. I now find there are six titles in this series but not readily available unless I’m in Malta. I found them at 1 euro each and added them to my cart. It was only when I came to the checkout and it added shipping I changed my mind, they only wanted 190 euros!

There was a post on Facebook from Renai Gard who said “I’ve only ever found a very small number of Pan’s Paris range of paperbacks from the 1940’s. Maybe four or five in sixteen or seventeen years of conscientious book-looking” This got me wondering how many were printed in France so I looked in Richard William’s PAN Books Guide and found he lists several different French printers plus a couple of Austrian ones and some just Printed in France. I’ve found examples of all the printers which you can see HERE There are probably more and I hope to do the same with UK printers.