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

James Bond Times Two and “Wingless Victory”

Simon Francis posted several photos of the James Bond material in his collection on Facebook and a couple caught my eye. Included was the advert above, which I have, but also the counter display below so if anyone has one to spare …….. or for that matter any other PAN advertising material they don’t want then please email me.

David Reinhardt, who is lucky enough to have a Golden PAN Award, posted more pictures of it on Facebook this week and although two are from the usual angle it’s interesting to see one of the back — no I’m not going to say his backside! If anyone has a Golden PAN Award they don’t want ………!

For a while my A3 Printer/Scanner has been playing up, well the printer part, and the only answer seemed to be a new print head which was more expensive than a new printer. I thought of keeping it just for the scanner but it was really too big to justify the space for something than only half worked. I bit the bullet and bought a new one but as luck would have it my old scanning software wouldn’t work with it so I’ve spent the last week trying to get a substitute and eventually resorted back to VueScan. To give it a good test I’ve taken the four PAN editions of ‘Wingless Victory’ by Anthony Thomas Stewart Currie Richardson (1899 to 1994) and included them with three of the original artworks. I advertised the old printer on Facebook and it went within an hour, did they know something I didn’t?

Hever Castle, A Spanish ‘Chitty ‘ And A Name Check

Sorry only a couple of things this week as we have been down in Kent stopping with our son and his family and in spite of getting out and about only managed  to pop into one bookshop and came out empty handed. We did get to visit some friends who were stopping in a cottage in the grounds of Hever Castle. It was only £4,550 for the week, click HERE if you want to see what you get for that sort of money!

I came back to find a copy of ‘Chitty Chitty Band Bang’ I bought from Spain ages ago had finally arrived, Unfortunately I can’t find the contract I had before I went to Kent giving details of the agreement with PAN to publish it in Spanish. I have looked through it very carefully and nowhere does it mention PAN or that it is the book of the film by John Burke although all the illustrations are based on the film story and not that of Flemings.

I’ve just been watching the YouTube video where Paul Duncan is reviewing his book on ‘Dr No’ published by Taschen and was pleasantly surprised to get a name check about eight minutes forty five seconds in. Looking forward to the trade edition coming out as the current limited edition is a little too much for me.

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.

Johnny Mains, ‘Panorama of History’, Alan Hunter and Astley Book Farm

I’ve not spoken to Johnny Mains for a while so thought I’d drop him an email asking how the article I sent scans for was coming on. Johnny informs me it was published in the December/January edition of ‘The Critic’ I also asked how the second revised edition of the biography of Herbert van Thal was progressing and he tells me it is still awork in progress.

I had an email from Bazeer Fulmore of the excellent website to ask if I had seen the PAN book about ‘Waterloo’ he’d spotted for sale in Australia. This made me get it and four like it off the shelf when I noticed, although all the same size, three are identified as part of the ‘Panorama of History’ series but two aren’t. I thought it might be date but four are 1972 so none the wiser.

Alan Hunter wrote 46 Inspector George Gently books of which PAN published just 6. Hunter was born on June 25, 1922 in Hoveton St John, Norfolk. He worked as a poultry farmer, was in the RAF, managed the antiquarian books department of Charles Cubitt in Norwich and became an antiquarian bookseller before becoming a novelist..Alan was married to Adelaide Cooper and died on February 26, 2005 in Brundall, Norfolk.

We can clearly identify that two of the six covers are by Sam Peffer and two by Pat Owen but we aren’t sure about ‘Gently Where the Roads Go’ I spotted what I thought was Pat’s signature and a couple of other PAN Fans agreed but checking with Pat’s wife, Sue, who checked with daughter Alex, they don’t think it is just the right edge of ‘O’ and then ‘wen’ Can anyone else help?

My wife and I popped over to the Astley Book Farm last week on the understanding we called in at a discount shoe store on the way back. How I suffer for my hobby! Sorry to say I only came away with a handful as it really was too cold to linger in the far reaches of the shop and all the ones I did buy were from the 10/- (50p in new money) barn which at least had the sun shining on it. We ended up in the cafe there at the table nearest the roaring stove which gave us a rosy glow.

Rosalind Erskine, Ian McEwan, Mika Waltari and The Pop Up Bookshop

I knew ‘The Passion Flower Hotel’ supposedly written by a 15 year old schoolgirl, which was was its big selling point, was not true although I did presume Rosalind Erskine was female. This turns out to be incorrect as well as ‘Rosalind’ was Roger Longrigg, the creative director of an advertising agency. Roger Erskine Longrigg (1 May 1929 – 26 February 2000) was a prolific British novelist from a  Scottish military family. As well as publishing some books under his own name, he principally wrote popular novels in a wide range of different styles, using different pseudonyms for each including Scottish historical novels as Laura Black; spy thrillers as Ivor Drummond; mystery thrillers as Frank Parrish. A sequel, ‘Passion Flowers in Italy’ was published by PAN but not the third title, ‘Passion Flowers in Business’

I picked up a three Picador Ian McEwan titles recently which were all signed to ‘Claire’ and only £1.99 each. These will join the several other signed McEwan titles I have as he seems to be prolific in this respect. While looking at his biography I was struck by the similarity between his background and Longrigg above, in that his father was a Scotsman who had worked his way up through the army to the rank of major. I’ve put the three covers on a page HERE but they are not amongst my favourites.

Mika Toimi Waltari was born and died in Helsinki (19/09/1908 to 26/08/1079) He was a Finnish writer, best known for his novel The Egyptian. He was extremely productive and  besides his novels he also wrote poetry, short stories, crime novels, plays, essays, travel stories, film scripts, and rhymed texts for comic strips by Asmo Alho

PAN published just one of his numerous historical novels, namely ‘The Roman’ The 100th anniversary of Waltari’s birth was celebrated by selecting the writer as the main motif for a high value commemorative coin, the €10 minted in 2008. The reverse depicts a vigilant Pharaoh watchdog referencing his famous book. The obverse is decorated with Waltari’s signature and a stylized pen nib that symbolizes the diversity of the writer’s production.

The pop up bookshop in Wolverhampton closed last Saturday after a longer than usual stay from January 22nd. I’ve been a couple of times including last Friday as there was a half price sale but sad to say I’ve not bought anything on either of the visits. Disappointing as I usually come away with a few although often not PANs. There were a some older paperbacks but the vast majority were for more recent novels but if that is what people want and brings them and their money in I can’t blame the booksellers. It is back later in the year and I live in hope …… To make up for my disappointment my wife is allowing me to go to the Astley Book Farm tomorrow so fingers crossed.

More Norman Pulsford, ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ and Ralph Barker

After posting the ‘Piccolo Puzzle Books’ by Norman G Pulsford last week HERE are some of the other puzzle books by Pulsford from PAN.

I was sent an advertisement for ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ cut from a 1968 magazine but no Idea which although it has articles about films on the back. 

Having mentioned Ralph Barker and one of his books last week I think I have now put all the titles/editions PAN published on both the individual numbers pages and on one page HERE. Again if anyone knows any I’ve not found please email.

The above was the inscription in one of Barker’s books. Ralph Hammond Cecil Barker was born in Feltham on the 21st October 1917 and educated at Hounslow College before joined the editorial staff of Sporting Life in 1934, but later went into banking. Meanwhile, he had begun writing, and several of his sketches and scenes were produced in West End Revues. Ralph joined the RAF in 1940 as a wireless operator/air-gunner and progressed his military career until 1961 when he retired voluntarily from the RAF to write full time. His first book, Down in the Drink’, was published in 1955, the first of many on the subject of military aviation. Barker left the RAF in 1961 to write full-time. He died on the 16th May 2011.

Piccolo Puzzles, ‘The Thousand Plan’ and Paul Slater’s ‘Racing Stories’ Covers

There were twelve ‘Piccolo Puzzle Books’ by Norman Pulsford with the first six based on the PAN editions. Still need to find firsts of the 3rd and 4th editions. I’ve not found out much about Pulsford apart from some bits and pieces from Ancestry. Norman George Pulsford was born on the 5th December 1902 in West Bromwich and died on the 1st February 1982 in Westminster, Greater London. In 1939 he was living at Heron Court, Richmond and was a journalist as was his wife Margaret nee Harber whom he married in October 1934. In WW2 he was in the Army Pay Corps. Can anyone add any more? I’ll post the Pulsford PAN Puzzle books next week.

I spotted a copy of ‘The Thousand Plan’ by Ralph Barker which I hadn’t seen before and thought it looked different. When I compared it to my two earlier editions I saw why. Those both said ‘Thousand’ on the cover while the later said ‘1,000’ It doesn’t use the numeric any where else in the book and I’ve not found another edition that does. The US edition from Ballantine was retitled ‘The Thousand Plane Raid’ while the film is ‘The 1000 Plane Raid’ from July 1969. Ballantine also change the title of ‘The Ship-Busters’ to ‘Torpedo Bomber!’

Paul Slater is an artist whose name often pops up on a PAN cover and two shown HERE caught my eye as they show his style so well. He was born in Burnley with no knowledge of the formal art world but went on to study at the London College of Art, where he was taught by towering figures of British illustration including Quentin Blake and Sheila Robinson. Slater’s vivid imagination and immaculate technical detail made his work highly sought after and whose eccentric work has been bought by Heston Blumenthal, Damien Hirst and many others.

FOOTNOTE One of those odd coincidences. I am currently ploughing my way through the Mo Hayder titles, which are well worth a read , and didn’t know she played Young Mr Grace’s secretary in ‘Are You Being Served?’ as well as one of ‘Hill’s Angels’ The coincidence is that Ralph Barker’s second wife, Diana Darvey, was also one of ‘Hill’s Angels’