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

Happy 24th Birthday, Arthur Eperon and Agatha Christie

How time flies. I’ve nearly missed TiKiT’s 24th birthday next Saturday on the 16th due to unforeseen circumstances which have resulted in me typing this from my hospital bed. On the 1st I got blue lighted to A&E with a heart attack. Now awaiting a triple stent procedure today and then, fingers crossed, as back to normal as can be expected. NB: Not had time to update the next post but the Eperon titles will be added ASAP.

For those thinking about planning their holidays they could always use Eperon’s French Regional Guides of which PAN published nine that I have found. They all feature cover artwork by Claire Davies but on trying to track her down there are too many artist with that name. I’ve also included several other titles of his on the page such as those from the ‘Travellers’ series. Arthur Eperon was born in 1919 and died in 2000. He began his career in the regional press joining the Steatham News as a trainee but his career was interrupted by the war, when he served in the RAF before being taken prisoner, He was one of the prisoners in Stalag Luft 3 who fooled the German guards in one of the great escapes by jumping over the famous wooden horse. He was able to join the Daily Herald when he came back from the war, because of his NUJ card, working alongside Michael Foot and John Betjeman. He became travel editor and left for The Sun in 1969, using his well-honed expertise to create a direct, journalistic approach to the travel column. After leaving newspapers he became a consultant to ITV’s ‘Wish You Were Here’, then published the bestseller Traveller’s France and a host of follow-ups, as well as contributing columns to magazines and newspapers.

In an email from the Agatha Christie Collectors Group they were suggesting suitable presents for Christie fans. One leapt out at me and made me wonder if the cards were from Duns Tew Publishing but on looking at the list these titles don’t appear. It was on Etsy but I don’t think I’ll go for it this season as I don’t know any Christie fans who might like the pack (which would probably have had the cards surreptitiously removed!)

Crosswords Part 4, Keith Scaife and Alan Cracknell.

  • As promised here is PART 4 of my collection of PAN crossword books from 1972 to 1983. There are not quite as many covers missing as there were thanks to Ian who has supplied a few scans but if anyone has any of the others to add to the page please get in touch. There are also a few with two editions having different designs so even more to watch for plus a couple of colour variants but that might just be fading. There will be a PART 5 next week with a random selection of crossword related titles.

It was really nice to meet up again last week with artist Keith Scaife at his mother’s house in Leek. Thank you to both for the warm welcome and the cups of coffee. On my first visit I acquired the artwork for ‘The Iron Tiger’ by Jack Higgins and this time it was to pick up a Christmas present to myself, the other six Higgin’s covers Keith painted. I was annoyed as I had forgotten to take the books for Keith to sign but when, on returning, I got them off the shelf I found he had from last time we met, must be old age! Now to try and sort out frames, as always a dilemma. Keith started out as a model maker and has gone back to that. He is currently working on a commission for a collector in Italy and this time it’s for exact replicas of the models from the TV series ‘UFO’, of which most of the originals have been lost over the years. After this he will move onto ‘Space 1999’ Below are ‘UFO’ Dinky models from around the mid 1970s of which I have the first two but not Ed Straker’s car.

Last week I mentioned Bruce Edward’s book on Alan Cracknell. Now I have had a more in depth look it does show how good an artist he was over a very wide range of media. Having said that I do have one disappointment in that it mentions Enid Blyton covers bit doesn’t feature any. If I had know I could have offered my two PAN Piccolo titles for inclusion.

Crosswords Part 3, Alan Cracknell and Glenn Steward.

PART 3 of the crossword book collection focusses on those from the late 1960s which now have SBNs. The design of these covers is the same as the later ones with PANs eclectic numbering system. A few are proving to be elusive so once again if you have a spare copy or can let me have a scan I would love to add it to the page.

I was pleased to receive a letter from Evelyn Cracknell, artist Alan’s wife, to let me know a book entitled ‘An Enchanted Eye : The Art of Alan Cracknell’ was now available. I used to sort of be Alan’s agent as he didn’t email and, as I have mentioned Alan Cracknell on my site, people emailed me so I would phone him to ask if he wanted to make contact. He was a lovely man and we had long conversations over the phone. The book is £22.99 plus £5 p&p and is available from Boscobel Books. If you are interested then email to contact Bruce Edwards, the author, for more details.

I do like to collect artwork by Glenn Steward and just wish I could find out more about him apart from he was an enthusiastic cyclist. My latest acquisition is the PAN cover artwork for ‘Cabbage Holiday’ by Anthony Thorne. PAN also published ‘Young Man on a Dolphin’ by him. I also acquired another non PAN cover by Glenn Steward and what is annoying is that when I first saw it a while ago I did a reverse image search and got the title. Now that no longer finds so I posted on several appropriate Facebook page and, sorry to say, just got silly answers. Here it is so if anyone can help please get in touch.

Sorry if anyone got a message this morning when they looked at this blog. I’ve been meaning to update the version of WordPress for a long time and it went smoothly. I then decided up update the PHP data base from 7.4 to 8.1 which promptly crashed the blog. I had this happen before but I though as it was a later version of WordPress it would be worth a try. No problem I thought, I’ll just switch back to 7.4 like last time but it was no longer on the list as an option. Luckily a message to my hosting site managed it for me so we are back up and running but if anyone knows enough to sort the problem please get in touch.

Crosswords Part 2, A Couple of Misses and June ’69 New Titles List

As promised last week here is the link to PART 2 of the PAN crossword books series. This time it’s for the junior titles which also includes Piccolo titles of which the first 8 are reprints of the PAN editions but the later 4 are original. It was while scanning the Piccolo covers I noticed that the layout of number 9 is odd in that it reverts to that of the first printing of number 1. I’ve also included the 3 ‘bumper’ editions with each having selections from the previous PAN/Piccolo titles. As you’ll see from the lists on the page I am a few titles short in this series including the elusive X705 so as usual if you can help please email me.

Last week I heard from Stuart Webb who let me know he had recently managed to acquire an original cover by J. Oval (Ben Ostrick) on eBay The seller had two but one had sold on the 29th October while Stuart purchased his on the 2nd November. They were both for Heyer titles but I was left wondering how I missed them but on looking at the dates I realise we had the family from Kent visiting that week as it was half term and I am ‘banned’ from the computer for the duration (I do sneak looks on my phone!) Congratulations to Stuart and the A N Other as they are very nice buys.

Here is the last of my current batch of New Titles Lists for June 1969. Once again it is in ‘glorious’ colour (who thought this was a good idea?) especially as it shows a Bond white cover in maroon.

Crosswords Part 1, New Titles List February ’70, Josephine Tey and How Long!!!!

As promised I am starting to rescan the front and back covers of all my crossword books I currently have, from the 1950s up to the 80s. I have split them into four parts to use over this and the next three weeks. I will say the earlier ones had a lot more going for them but some of the colour combinations of the later ones are not bad. Today it is PART 1 with the crossword books having PAN’s eclectic numbers. If you see any gaps and find you have a spare copy or can scan the missing covers please let me know so we can make the pages as complete as possible.

This time it’s the new titles list for the 6th February 1970. There seems to be, sadly, fewer and fewer painted covers and more photos as time goes by but it does have Wilbur Smith titles on the front. I’m  pleased to say I do have some of Hans Helweg’s roughs for these covers but I would really to know where the  finished originals ended up. It does have the usual six pages plus a double sided stock list and this time a flyer for ‘Incident of Hill 192’

I don’t know how Jules Burt finds the time to produce his excellent videos bur very pleased he does. Click on the image to see a recent one featuring Josephine Tey with covers from PAN and other publishers.

While looking for PAN crossword books I came across the jumbo series by Mike Grimshaw and was pleased to find a copy of Book 4 on Amazon with fast delivery included in my Prime account, goodness knows how long it might have been otherwise!

Earrings, Crosswords and New Titles List December 1969

I couldn’t resist buying a pair of clip on earrings on Etsy as they featured a couple of covers of Georgette Heyer titles. One had the cover of The Corinthian’ and the other ‘Regency Buck’ There was also nice surprise of a bonus of a pin badge of ‘The Corinthian I have tried them on but they begin to pinch after a while but might try wearing the pin badge as see if any one notices.

Jules Burt has recently shared another of his fantastic videos and this time it is for his collection of crossword books with 90% being for Penguin and others from PAN etc. Click on the image above to view it. This has prompted me to get my PANs and Piccolo’s off the shelves and rescan them. I will also take a leaf out of Jules book by separating them out into parts for one a week starting next blog.. The first will be the numbered series, then the junior series, the ISBNs up to 1971 and then the later ones. I don’t have them all so if you see any you can help with please let me know especially if its X705 ‘Junior Crosswords Book 3’ compiled by Robin Burgess which gets a mention is Jules video – thanks Jules. Jules also asked if anyone knew anything about L W Burgess so I set Chat and Bard a challenge. Chat didn’t offer anything new but Bard came up with this, as to it accuracy, I’ll need to do some more investigation.
L.W. Burgess, also known as L.W. Burgess-Smith, was born in 1925. He was a prolific crossword compiler and published over 200 crossword books in his lifetime. His books were known for their challenging but fair puzzles, and for their wide range of clues. Burgess also contributed to several crossword magazines, including The Listener and Crossword Times. He also compiled crosswords for newspapers and other publications. Burgess died in 1989 at the age of 64.
I then asked about Robin Burgess and it said;
Robin Burgess was born in England in 1917. He was a prolific crossword compiler and published over 200 crossword books in his lifetime. His books were popular with both children and adults and were known for their fun and challenging puzzles. Burgess also contributed to several crossword magazines and newspapers throughout his career. He was a member of the British Crossword Society and served as its President from 1973 to 1975. Burgess died in England in 1982 at the age of 65.
I asked if they were related but Bard admitted it would need more information to offer an opinion. The British Crossword Society mentioned was founded in 1926 and ceased trading in 2016. It was one of the oldest crossword societies in the world. It published a monthly magazine, The Crossworder’, which featured crosswords from some of the top compilers in the UK. The BCS also organized crossword competitions and events throughout the year.
Finally I then asked about L W Burgess-Smith, crossword compiler and got a slightly different answer!
L. W. Burgess-Smith was a crossword compiler who contributed crosswords to various publications, including The Times, The Guardian, and The Sunday Telegraph. He was known for his challenging and creative puzzles, which often featured unusual themes and wordplay. Burgess-Smith began compiling crosswords in the 1970s, and his puzzles quickly became popular with solvers for their difficulty and ingenuity. He was also a regular contributor to crossword magazines, and he wrote several books on crosswords, including ‘The Art of Crossword Compiling’ and ‘Crosswords: The Ultimate Guide’ Burgess-Smith died in 2014, but his legacy as one of the most respected crossword compilers of his generation lives on. His puzzles continue to be published in newspapers and magazines around the world, and they continue to challenge and entertain solvers of all skill levels.

Once again the new titles list for December 1969 consists of a six page publication plus the double sided stock list but no separate flyer this time. Click on the image above to view it. I was particularly interested in this one as the cover features ‘Christy’ by Catherine Marshall with artwork by Hans Helweg which I have it in my library. Again the artwork on the supporting material is different to the cover but unlike others I’ve mentioned it was not used for any later edition. It also feature ‘Catherine and Arnaud’ another Hans cover I have plus a Hornblower I don’t have but I do have another David Tayler in the same series. It also lists the ‘The Sixteenth PAN Book of Crossword Puzzles’

George Underwood, C S Lewis, ‘Thunderball’ and eBay

Artist George Underwood was born in 1947 and joined Beckenham Art School in 1963. At art school George became more and more interested in music. As a result he pursued a career in the music world. Along with life long friend David Bowie he made one record (The King Bees ) and also a solo record under the name Calvin James. After deciding that the music business was not for him, George returned to art studies and then worked in design studios as an illustrator. Initially he specialised in fantasy, horror and science fiction book covers. Several of these covers were for PAN. He also painted a cover for Piccolo called ‘The Greatest Magicians on Earth’ and I emailed him about this to which he replied ”Dear Tim, Thanks for your message. It was indeed me who illustrated the cover you mentioned amongst quite a few others. Now, finding that original could be quite difficult, if I still have it. I will try and find it and let you know. Kind regards, George’  As I’ve not heard anything I’m presuming he wasn’t successful but fingers crossed. Click HERE to see a selection.

I recently spotted a C S Lewis cover for one of the  ‘The Space Trilogy titles I hadn’t got and then decided to take all the covers for this series and rescan them. I don’t think I realised how many editions and variants there were from PAN. A few things I did notice was there doesn’t appear to be reprint of ‘That Hideous Strength’ from 1971 while ‘Out of the Silent Planet’ from 1971 is overprinted with the new PAN logo. Also on the back of the 1963 edition of ‘That Hideous Strength’ they still show the covers with the logo from the 1962 editions. The 1953 edition of ‘Voyage to Venus’ has ‘Perelandra’ in brackets under the title while the 1983 edition  is the only one where it is the other way around.
Clive Staples Lewis (29/11/1899 to 22/11/1963) was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He went to school in Malvern and then to Oxford University before enlisting in the army in WWI. After he was discharged he was appointed English Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, where he tutored English Language and Literature. He published around 40 books including the ‘The Space Trilogy’ (1938 to 1945) and the ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ (1950 to1956) Lewis was a close friend of J R R Tolkien, author of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ as both men served on the English faculty at Oxford at the same time.

A “Thank you” to James Bond aficionado Thomas Nixdorf who posted a couple of PAN counter advertising displays for ‘Thunderball’ on a Facebook group page. He very happy happy for me to show them here.

Having received an email from eBay to thank me for being a member for 22 years I now realise where all my money has gone. When I look at bank statements it feels as though I have personally be responsible for keeping them going for all that time!

Sept ’69 New Titles, JB’s Video Part 3 And Not Really PAN But …

Another new titles list for September 2nd 1969 with a large double sided stockiest and double sided ‘Battle of Britain’ page. It mentions October’s major promotion which features George Lazenby and OHMMSS’ with photos of all the available display material, I’d love to know where any of that is but more than likely it ended up in a bin. Click on the scan below to see it.

Jules Burt has now finished his look at the just numbers PANs in part 3 so click on the image to see the fantastic artwork.

Not quite PAN but after a trip to Birkenhead Tram Museum recently on my friend Kevin’s vintage double decker bus I spotted this on one of the trade stands. I was surprised as it isn’t really anything to do with buses but was amongst the thousands of bus photo, timetables and scale models. It’s an child’s adding machine and works really well. It wasn’t expensive and has PETER PAN on it so how could I resist and it made up for the fact that both the trams and the Mersey ferries were not running.

Roger Harris, Snipers, Reversed Logos and JB’s Video 2

I’m trying to find out anything about Roger Harris who was the artist responsible for five covers from PAN. There may be more but these HERE are the few I have found so far. It appears he was born in 1942 in ? and since 1994 he has been a member of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers &  exhibits regularly at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, The Mall Galleries and The Royal West of England Academy in Bristol. His work is included in permanent collections at the Cleveland Gallery, Kent County Council and the Ashmolean Museum Oxford. In 1993 he won 2nd prize at the Cleveland International Drawing Biennale and in 1997 he was awarded the Polock-Krasner Art Foundation Award, New York. If anyone has contact details please comment or email.

I don’t usually post books by theme but when I saw these three I thought there was sure to be more showing cross hairs but drew a blank. Seems the memory is not what is was but if anyone does know of others please email or comment.

A while ago Jeremy Birch pointed out what I hadn’t noticed on that one of the PAN logos on a spine was reversed on  G242 “A Secret Understanding”. Since then I have scanned in the dust jackets and noticed two of them have the logo reversed on the front.

Here is the link to another excellent video from Jules Burt. It is part 2 as he works his way through his just numbers collection. It is so good to see all those covers which are hidden when they are on shelves. Click on the image below to view it.                                                           

Simon Marsh-Devine, New Titles June 1969, A Bibliography And C?

I recently made contact again with Simon Marsh-Devine which gave me the opportunity to ask him about his Catalogue of Artwork he produced after the infamous Bonham’s PAN Artwork Auction of 1991. He replied to say “Well I don’t know if I can tell you anything of any great interest. Before the catalogue I met with all three of the artists in the catalogue using some of their memories in my work in my degree titled “Post War British Paperback Cover Art” which secured me honours. I have always bought and sold art and antiques on a hobby basis and this catalogue was a tiny part of what I did as my main work was and still is as an arborist”

Here is the stock list for new titles for June 1969. It also included a large double sided stock list and a double side insert for three titles. I’ve abandoned attempts at an electronic book and just scanned in the pages which is simpler and works most of the time unlike an on screen book where the software can become redundant. I still have a few I made using Flash but where is that now? It features some great counter and window displays so click on the scan above to see it.

When I first started collecting PAN Books a little more seriously that just picking them up whenever I saw one I got hold of a second edition copy of Richard William’s checklist which has become very dogeared and full on my markings. Since then I have got another second printing which Richard signed to go with a first but now I am pleased to say I have got an earlier listing from 1987 covering just the numbered titles. It is a second printing and says it is part 2′ but I’ve no idea what was in part 1? It confirms there were no titles numbered 33, 34, 35, 37, 38, 69, 88, 187 and 442 which agrees with my list but it also states there were 18 with dust jackets and I have 19 with 2 variants. There are a lot more details which I’ll check out and probably use in future blogs.

QUICK QUERY: While looking for S/F titles I noticed a couple of PANs by Arthur Clarke which set me wondering who decided he would become Arthur C(harles) Clarke? A couple of examples are ‘Earthlight’ and ‘Childhood’s End’