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

Agatha Christie Photo Covers, Disappointing Chitty and ‘N or M’

Having mentioned the Christie website the week before last it prompted me to scan it the later 1970/80s ones with photo covers. Interestingly only one has a photo credit. I make it twenty so far but if anyone has any others please let me know. Just wondering what is the correct way round for the photo of Agatha as she seems to be switched on different covers?

I was disappointed to get a Turkish edition of ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ in that it was not what I was expecting, I have the agreement between PAN and Milliyet in Turkey to publish John Burke’s book of the film. With my Turkish being a little weak(!) I didn’t translate it that well. The agreement was with Milliyet Cocuk Gazetesi (Milliyet Children’s Newspaper) while the book was from Milliyet Yaninlari Cocuk Kitaplari Dizisi (Milliyet Publications Children’s Books Series) It appears the book by John Burke was serialised in the magazine while Ian Fleming’s story was the book.

While looking at my Christie titles I noticed something sticking out of my 1960 edition of ‘N or M?‘ It turned out to be a team list for a match Wolverhampton Warriors played against Shrewsbury Town in 1986 but this also got me wondering why PAN felt the need to publish the same title in 1959 and 1960 with different covers? The 1959 has a Glenn Steward cover while 1960 is by Sam Peffer. This usually happens if there is a film tie in but all I can think is something that occurred to me, the dot of the question mark looks like somebody had gone over something with a black marker? 

For any football fans out there here is the team sheet.

‘Free with Mizz’, A PAN Badge and another ‘Penmarric’

‘Mizz’ was a magazine aimed at teenage girls first published in April 1985 by Pannini until 2013 when it ceased publication. In 1985 the magazine  gave away copies of ‘Apple of an Eye’ by Jane Beeson under the PAN Pavanne imprint. All the copies I can find are second printings (including New Zealand) and have ‘Free with Mizz’ on the front. I’m wondering if a first printing had that as well? What I thought was interesting is that it had a page explaining the concept of the Pavanne imprint.

I’m always on the look out for PAN related bits and pieces so I was pleased to get this badge which might become appropriate at some time – fingers crossed. Still investigating the artist (Quentin Blake?) and date.

Spent a few days travelling around Warwickshire last week but returned with only one book from the secondhand bookshop at NT Baddesley Clinton, a later copy of the 1972 million selling ‘Penmarric’ by Susan Howatch. It uses the first edition artwork but it is made into a vignette but I’m still wondering why and who the cover artist might be? Baddesley Clinton has been selling secondhand books for nearly sixteen years and they reckon they have raised over £923,000 which will be increased by their ever popular Bookfair for three weeks this summer.

We also popped into NT Packwood House which has opened a secondhand bookshop called ‘Sundials’ last year and has quite a bit of stock but mostly too new but we will keep revisiting as it is not that far away.

Leslie Thomas, a ‘Poirot’ Mystery and Llandudno.

This weeks look at all the different editions of one particular million selling title is ‘The Virgin Soldiers’ by Leslie Thomas first published by PAN in 1967 as M191. For those that might not know the ‘M’ referred to the price which was 5/- (G was 2/6, X was 3/6 etc) I recently picked up a Canadian edition overprinted 75c on the cover and signed by Thomas.

Fellow PAN Fan Jeremy Birch, in one of his regular letters, sent me this small piece of card he found in his 1962 edition of ‘The Mysterious Affair at Styles’ He wanted to know if I could throw any light on it but it was also a ‘mystery’ to me! I contacted David Morris at the ‘Collecting Christe’ website where he writes extremely well researched in depth articles on all things published relating to Christie including a recent one on PANs (thanks for the website mention) but he drew a blank. Anyone any idea or just something from someone’s imagination?

While having a day out in Llandudno, transported on friend Kevin’s vintage double decker bus, I popped into the flea market in the town hall not expecting to find anything but came out with two instructional PANs. Since then I have been trying them out although rather unsuccessfully but they do illustrate the range of titles PAN has published over the years. The first is ‘Creative Poker’ from 1985 (unread) and the second ‘The Complete Magician’ from 1976 (well read) The weather in Llandudno was very pleasant and as can be seen in my photo the seats were just a stones throw from the beach.

Golden PAN Update, ‘Lions of Longleat’ and an Alan Hunter Letter

I’ve recently been going through the list of recipients of the ‘Golden PAN Award’ and hope it is now reasonably up to date thanks to a list from PAN. It was mainly the most recent recipients that were missing plus a few dates and venues now added although I did have all the earlier authors included. What I didn’t know was that Jacqueline Graham and Sonny Mehta were the only non-author recipients of a Golden PAN Award

Now winners don’t get a second statue for another million seller but a certificate.

I have several copies of ‘Booth’s Handbook of Cocktails and Mixed Drinks’ mostly signed, some with errata sheets stapled in and now I have a signed one with a different sticker on the front. It refers to an advertising tie in between Booth’s gin and Longleat which actually featured in a Pathe News reel.

Having featured the Alan Hunter ‘George Gently’ titles last week I had tried to find a usable version of his signature but eventually ended up buying a signed book, namely ‘Fields of Heather’ which was rename ‘Gently in the Past’ in later publications to probably tie in with the TV series although not used. It was while scanning it I found a letter in it from Radio Norfolk saying this was a prize won in their ‘Platform Competition’ an opportunity for individuals to showcase their creative talents whether a budding poet, a stand-up comedian, or a musician participants could upload their work, including comedy, podcasts, poetry, fiction, and more, via BBC Upload apparently.