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

RIP Ken Hatherley, A Christie Title and Piers Paul Read

I was really sad to hear from Colin Larkin that Kenneth Mervyn Hatherley died last week after suffering a massive heart attack and could not be revived. Ken was born in 1951 and followers of this blog will probably recognise the name as he was Studio Director at PAN in the 1970’s and 80’s. I put together a page after we meet up at his home and the link is HERE. I know one thing Ken was particularly proud of, but not credited with, was the icon style he designed for the ‘JAWS title looking like teeth.

I contacted Peter Tietjen who said about Ken;
“A dear pal of mine left this world on Saturday 9th May 2020. We met at Pan Books, Tothill Street in 1971 and soon discovered we shared the same wicked sense of humour, sharing countless crazy escapades together over the years (many of which would be deemed extremely politically incorrect by today’s standards). I really didn’t know what to say when I heard Ken had died, then I remembered the photo I’d taken of the tree in his garden that he’d trimmed to the shape of a heart. The first time I saw it in bloom, I thought it was a fake but on checking, discovered it to be the real thing. Ken too, was the real thing. Ken was an inveterate smoker, imbiber of Strongbow, total Luddite concerning anything vaguely resembling a computer but great with a barbecue. He was also my greatest friend and I shall miss our gambling, shooting and explosives sessions!”
Thanks to Peter for these photos.

Our condolences go out to his wife Pauline and all the rest of the family.

While looking for Roger Hall covers I started re-scanning his PAN titles and amongst them was ‘The Mysterious Affair At Styles’ by Agatha Christie. As I am now putting in cross links I noticed that this one title has at least three of PAN’s eclectic numbers plus an ISBN. It appeared as 310, G112, X284 and 0330 102842 with the same artwork being used on several editions.

While talking about motorway services, as you do, and how bad they are generally I have to say I do like two, namely Tebay on the M6 and Beaconsfield on the M40 because they are friendly and welcoming unlike most, they both have a lake plus Beaconsfield is the only services with a Wetherspoons! It was while mentioning Beaconsfield I remembered that is was the birthplace of the late great Sir Terence David John Pratchett OBE and also Piers Paul Read of whom PAN published 12 of his titles. I have scanned in a page of them and they can be found HERE

Disclaimer: Other services with lakes are available and any opinions expressed are purely those of the author. I wouldn’t dare say something so controversial on Facebook!

Finally take care and ‘stay safe’ and apparently ‘stay alert’ whatever that means?

‘SHELDON’, Chitty and Ambrosia and a ‘Nothing to do with PAN!’

There have been a couple of mentions of Louis Shabner in past blogs who was better known as the artist who signed just as ‘Sheldon’ (not to be confused with Harry Sheldon) on over 20 PAN covers. I noticed a calendar on eBay for 1978 with a picture of ‘Miss Felco’ on it and signed by Louis Shabner and as the price wasn’t too extortionate I bought it as I certainly can’t afford a ‘real’ painting of his at current prices. It looked very nice hanging in the ‘library’ but as it had been used it was short of one thing, the tear of months so with the help of ‘Publisher’ it now has a token month added. I would love to know who Miss Felco actually was?

I did some research on ‘Felco Hoists Ltd’ as I like a challenge and it turns out to be one of those weird coincidences. It was originally based in London, got bought out by Birfield in the early 60’s, taken over by GKN in 1967 and finally acquired by Wheway Watson Ltd. before disappearing in 1990. What is weird is that Wheway Watson Ltd was not a million miles from me and I must have passed it going to and from work in the 80’s but I can’t picture it! 

While on the ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Collectors’ Facebook page I noticed someone had put on a photo of the Chitty/Ambrosia badges which were awarded at promotions and to all entrants to their competition. I had thought it was a colouring competition but turns out it’s ‘Spot The Difference’ on the tins. Dave Hinett of the Facebook group very kindly scanned in a page of details of the promotion which also shows the prizes including 40,000 copies of the book written by John Burke. I have added a few press cuttings and some photos of the ‘first prize’ at the Ambrosia factory etc. which can been seen HERE. I would love to know if the winner chose the car or the cash?

Nothing to do with PAN but I thought it was a bit spooky when looking through the 30th June 1984 edition of ‘Personal Computer News’ as you do and noticed this illustration from an article on a flight simulator programme!

An Advert, Gary Menchen and Erle Stanley Gardner plus BOAC

Found the above on a website, bit spooky or what but I’d love to get one

Last year I received an email from Gary Menchen about his project to produce an on-line bibliography of Erle Stanley Gardner. He has now come back to me to say his website has a magnificent 157 titles in 1,960 editions/variants and over 1,200 cover images of which I’m happy to say a few are mine. Gary asked if it was OK to use some of my PAN covers to fill gaps and I was more than happy to say “Yes” as it included plugs for my website. It’s amazing when you see THE LIST OF PUBLISHERS with PAN’s being a very small contribution of 74.

Just sorting a few books when I noticed one had a sticker for the B.O.A.C. (British Overseas Airways Corporation)  Aircraft Library so I looked and found a few more.The Interloper’ has the blue sticker inside front cover and is not quite as worrying a title as this ONE I have for Singapore Airlines, just what you want to read at 30,000 feet! I always like to read before bedtime no matter where I am.

J B Yeats, Daniel Defoe and John Creasey

Hunting through some boxes not looked at for a while I came across this proof copy of “J. B. Yeats Letters To His Son W. B. Yeats” published by Faber and Faber in 1944. I can’t remember where I picked it up but it must have been because it says on the front “With Alan Bott’s Compliments’ and 1944 was of course the year PAN was registered as a company by Alan Bott. It also says inside that it is from the library of J. B. Priestly and PAN published Priestley titles. Gordon Young recalls meeting Priestley (below) in Paris when they were shipping books over on the ‘Laloun’:

While in Paris, as I mentioned earlier, we were fortunate to be able to moor alongside the floating club house of the Touring Club de France (TCF) which lay just upstream from the Pont de la Concorde, usually arriving late Friday afternoon, giving us a couple of free days before proceeding upstream to the commercial dock at Quay Austerlitz to load. Aubrey Forshaw (ADF) was a great Francophile and love to slip over to Paris when we were there. One time he decided to hold a drinks party on board for several authors who happened to be in Paris – I think there might have been some literary event on at the time. So we ‘dressed ship’, set out a drinks table and I suppose we must have about twenty people aboard but the only one I can remember now was J B Priestley. Pan had recently published his ‘Three Time Plays’ and as it happened I had a copy. Thinking I might get him to sign my copy, I approached the great man, who had settled himself in a chair on the after deck, away from the main crowd, and was enjoying a quite moment with a large whisky. I asked very politely if he would sign my copy and was very rudely told to “F……….off, I never do signings”. I realised he had had more than one whisky !”

I recently had several emails from Grant Thiessen of BookIT Inc in Winnipeg with scans of PAN book covers he has, one of which was Moll Flanders’ by Daniel Defoe. This reminded me I have never updated the ‘mistake’ page for this title which was originality issued as X433 but mysteriously changed to the incorrect X438 in the 3rd printing.

With X433 becoming X438 it meant there were now two with the same number namely  ‘Moll Flanders’ and ‘A Prince For Inspector West’. As all the catalogues correctly list X438 as the Creasey I went to re-scan it at a larger size to be pleasantly surprised to find it signed by Creasey. I think this is just fortuitous as I do not remember buying  a copy sold as such. I’ve looked at other examples of the signature and it does appear to be as genuine as any of these can be without full provenance.

Kitty Peffer RIP, F. F. E. Yeo-Thomas and few more ‘PEFF’ photos.

I was really sorry to hear from Kathy. Sam Peffer’s Great Niece, that Kitty had passed away peacefully in her sleep last Thursday. Kitty Barber was born in September 1922 in London and married Samuel John  Peffer on the 1st January 1949 in Islington. Kitty went on to become the ‘star’ of so many of the Sam’s book covers. We pass on our condolences to all family members.

I have a friend who volunteers at the local heritage railway, Chasewater, which unfortunately has had to close at the moment but normally they get a lot of railway and model railway related magazines. Ian kindly sorts me out a random bundle which I peruse and then take them into our local library where there is a stand for any magazines to be passed on. In the last batch was a copy of ‘Best of British’ from May 2010 but with that sort of thing age is not really that important. It was the mention of the installation of a ‘Blue Plaque’ for Wing Commander Forest Frederick Edward “Tommy” Yeo-Thomas GC, MC & Bar.

PAN published at least four editions of book The White Rabbit by Bruce Marshall telling of ‘Tommy’s’ operations behind enemy lines during World War II. 

Still sorting through all the negatives I got from Kathy. Sam’s Great Niece, and although a lot of them are for publishers other than PAN I have managed to find a few more including ‘Love and Marriage’ with Kitty and Sam and Powder and Patch’

Gavin Scott, Mrs. Thrift and Eric Tenney

I’ve talked about fellow PAN Books fan Gavin Scott before and I recently contacted him again in the US to say how much I had enjoyed his “Age of…..” series and asked if there was a possibility of having some sort of signed label to put in them? (It’s well worth visiting his BLOG to see what he is up to) Well, Gavin rose to the occasion and not only sent me three labels but also a card (as above) from a talk he gave in 2017 at the Lois Lambert Gallery about another of his many and varied interests. Modesty prevents me quoting from the labels but I’ll put them here so you can read them.

As Gavin mentioned Duncan Forrester, his hero of the three books (with three more to come when Gavin has found a new publisher) possibly seeing them on a station book stall  I’ve suggested Duncan could muse of how attractive the PAN covers are next to their rather bland rivals? I would love there to be a mention of PAN as my ‘PAN as mentioned in Books‘ is decidedly thin at the moment!

As I  said last week I bought four books signed by Julian May to Celeste Parsons and Peter Tjienten above but didn’t know who the lady on the right was. I have heard back from Peter who says;
“That delightful lady is Emma Espley who was our secretary. Emma’s Mum was very friendly with her neighbour Mrs Thrift who we discovered was Douglas Adams’ Mum which gave us the idea of using her on the display material because Douglas hadn’t written the latest book as usual and Sonny Mehta was holding him captive somewhere or other until the book was writ. The flower on the badge is a THRIFT plant (hence T-Day) and the bin header was Mum at full size holding a tray of badges. Mum was trying to make some money because Douglas was suffering from writer’s block and was therefore short of dosh!!! The only pictures I have of what remains of this promotion are crap (attached) which is a shame ‘cos the finished thing looked great”

The challenge now of course is to find a badge as I know I might have more of a chance with that than a cut out of Mrs. T!
Footnote; Janet Thrift, died on the 24th February 2016. Douglas was 5 years old when his mother and his father (Christopher Adams) divorced. Douglas stayed with his mother and his younger sister, Sue. Janet worked as a nurse in the local hospital. She then remarried in 1964 with a local vet, Ron Thrift. Together they had two kids, Jane and James. The picture above of Janet was used as an ad for the promotion of the second book of Dirk Gently “The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul” (1988).
Footnote T(ea)-Day is March 11th, DA’s birthday while T(owel)-Day is May 25th two weeks after DA’s death.

I mentioned buying an original artwork by Eric Tenney of a bush baby a couple of years ago. Having picked up the Hamlyn book of ‘Pottery’ and noticing the illustrations were by Eric I thought I’d update the bush baby painting story. I think it was only a few pounds on eBay and when it arrived the glass was smashed but luckily the painting was undamaged. The seller was most apologetic and refunded a third which allowed me to buy new glass and a new frame which I was going to do anyway as it was not to my taste! I had an email from Susan, Eric’s daughter who said;
“The bush baby was called Charlie and he lived in Dad’s studio. DD rescued him from a pet shop – he was very sick and we nursed him to better health but sadly he died – not sure how long we had him?”

Signed Julian May titles, 3 from Peter Townend and a Picador

I’ve just bought four Julian May titles off eBay and they look as though they have never been read. Although I do already have them all I was interested in these as they are all signed to either ‘Peter Pann’ or ‘Celeste’ who worked at PAN in the 70’s. I knew who ‘Peter Pann’ was but I had to look up ‘Celeste’. They are the two on the left in this photograph namely Celeste Parsons and Peter Tietjen. I’ve mentioned Peter before as I have other titles inscribed to ‘Peter Pann’

UPDATE Just heard back as to who the third person is on the right and also some very interesting information concerning her link to Douglas Adams. More next after I’ve done a bit of research.

As usual I missed a date this time for Peter Gascoyne Townend, writer and photographer who was born in London on the 6th March 1935. He married Kate Moffat in 1973 and died in the London on the 6th June 1999. PAN published three of his four Philip Quest novels about a one-eyed photographer in 1973/74/75 but not ‘Triple Exposure’ which was published in the States by Pinnacle in 1979.

I’m inpressed with ‘Out of Focus’ as the photographer looks as though he went to extra mile and project a strip of film on her which includes the edge saying it’s Kodak Plus X PAN film. Just wondering who is in the photo?

I do have a soft spot for Picador titles and their covers which are often of a quirky nature and when I spotted one with a cover by John Holmes. I thought it was great and then I found I had another three which you can see HERE.  John, artist and art director was in London on the 13th February 1935 and died on the 17th August 2011. In his obituary it says;

  1. “A photographer friend introduced him to Dave Larkin, the art director at Granada Books, for whom he did covers for the 1969 edition of Vladimir Nabokov’s Despair and for The Female Eunuch (which Greer loved). A commission from Larkin for Pan’s UK paperback of Peter Benchley’s Jaws (1974) was followed by jackets for Ballantine’s editions of HP Lovecraft’s horror and fantasy novels and artworks for Fontana’s Horror Stories series. The dark complexities of horror stimulated a rich seam of imaginative and disturbing images, especially of the mutability of the human face”
    I needed to do a  quick check with Ken Hatherley and he confirmed that John was the artist for the iconic ‘Jaws’ cover version with the swimmer.
    I love those creepy Ballantine covers of his and note there was a link between PAN and Ballantine and also David Larkin in the above who moved from Granada to PAN.

An Ad, ‘Lost Horizons’, ‘England Their England’ and a few more Kaye Hodges.

I always like to come across bits and pieces linked to PAN Books and this time it’s the Press Book for the 1973 production of ‘Lost Horizon PAN published many edition over the years but this is the only fim tie-in. The merchandise supplement mentions joint promotions between PAN Books and Bell Records plus window and in-store displays at W H Smith, Boots and Menzies. The Bell Records soundtrack was moderately more successful than the film, peaking at No. 58 on the Billboard Hot 200!

Sorting through some early titles made me wonder how many different editions PAN published over the years of England Their England‘ by A(rchibald) G(ordon) Macdonell. I think the answer is six but having said that I will now come across a seventh which strangely seems to be often the case.

…. and a quick final note I’ve added more of Kaye Hodges non PAN covers to her page HERE including some Monica Dickens and Catherine Cookson titles.

Teweksbury, ‘Two Times Murder’ And Thomas Forman

We were due to be at Tewkesbury Caravan Club today to meet up with the antiquarian bookseller who had bought all of Hans Helweg’s original artwork I saw when I went to Han’s studio last year. Mark, the dealer, had gone through all 70+ and had decided 10 were not really commercially viable plus one with damage and offered them to me at a price where I could hardly say “No” As he lives near Tewkesbury and the the club site was no longer underwater (a frequent occurrence) we arranged to meet up and  exchange a modest amount of money for the pictures, Unfortunately, the site having reopened on the 20th after the floods has now closed on the 22nd due to COVID-19! Fingers crossed I can get them at a later time……
(Photo above is of the site entrance near the Abbey showing how high the site reception is built to be above the regular floods)

As is often the case, by a strange coincidence I came across another of Sam Peffer’s covers being recycled (click HERE to see previous) and it is little more sympathetically done this time. The book is ‘Two Times Murder’ with a tipped in sheet as below. It was also the accompanying description from Gary Lovisi that sold it to me as it said ‘Gryphon Books, 2012, 1st US book edition, US trade paperback, writing as J.K. Baxter, classic private eye novel in the Chandler style by a famed British author, cover art by Sam “Peff” Peffer, this is book #2 of just 50 COPIES published, SIGNED by Bounds, cover artist Peff, and Phil Harbottle who wrote the introduction on a special bound in signature page, rare, all of these copies were destroyed in Hurricane Sandy, this is one of only 2 left, as new, Fine (1)’ I did contact Gary who told me the sheets were sent to Sam who signed them in the UK.

It’s only taken me just over two years to discover the bulletin above which is from around the time I wrote to the society. The society preserves the memory of Thomas Forman and Sons Ltd,  a very long established printers in Nottingham but which unfortunately closed in 2000.

Donald Downs, ‘Last Horizon’ And An Artwork

I picked up a copy of the Hamlyn ‘Book of Fishing’ because it was illustrated by three PAN cover stalwarts namely Glenn Steward, Roger Hall and Sam ‘PEFF’ Peffer. Inside was a name I didn’t recognise but on doing a quick search I find the book must have belonged to a fly fishing expert, Donald Downs. I’ve compared signatures with know ones and it is definitely his. “He lived in Westerham, Kent and did not own a car, even though during his war service he had driven most things from a Jeep to a Churchill tank. He enjoyed listening to the wireless, but would not entertain the like of television, or even a refrigerator and was very happy in his own company.”

After trying to get all the 70 plus PAN Horizons titles I have at last got a replacement for the one supposedly lost in the post (I did get my money back) but I’m very disappointed in that it is the only one that doesn’t actually list the artist anywhere I can find on the cover!

While sorting through my meagre collection of cover artwork I came across this small painting which says it is ‘Not As A Stranger’ by Morton Thompson but it is not like the two covers PAN used. It seems to be too good a quality for a rough but pretty sure it is a PAN as it was amongst the piles they threw into the skips in 1991! Hans Helweg painted both covers used for the 1961/63 edition and the 1969 edition so maybe one of his? I’ll keep searching.