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 Birthday Emily, H.H. update, ‘Totem’ and a new business card!

Tomorrow, July 30th, will be Emily Bronte’s 201st Birthday. All though she wasn’t a prolific writer at least PAN published one of her novels in several editions. Click HERE or HERE to see them. Here is an appropriate joke from the latest ‘Private Eye’ magazine.

This week has been mainly taken up with re-scanning book covers by Hans Helweg. As he did over 250 this will be a long term project. I’ve put together a page from my notes when we met Hans’ widow Sue and sent the URL to her. She was very happy with it, just a couple of tweaks and confirmations on details needed. It’s now back with her and waiting approval to launch it upon the world.

I spotted the above poster for ‘The Totem’ someone had posted on a Twitter feed and of course couldn’t help but spot the PAN logo, looks like another item to add to the ‘Wanted’ list. The book cover is another from George Sharp who says it’s modelled on himself.

For a long time my cheap and cheerful business cards have said the site celebrates 25 years of PAN Books when now that has been extended to 45+ years plus a newer tag line. You know sometimes an offer comes through that seems just too good to miss? Well this was that time and I’ve now got 1,000 cards for not much more than the price of 100. Gone for the minimalist look but double sided and this time no advert for Vistaprint on the back!

Now Secure, Robert Rankin and Stuart Bodek.

After being away for few days in North Yorkshire I came back on Thursday, bit the bullet and started the process of obtaining a SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate for my website. The first part involved moving the site to a secure server and then issuing the certificate. This seemed to go fairly well but my site still said ‘Not Secure’ I got in touch with the help desk of my hosting company and they said I needed to add extra code to a file in the root directory. This was beginning to be a little outside my comfort zone but after making backups and Googling to find the code I went ahead and it appears to have worked as it now says it is a secure site. Unfortunately, due to my site being 19 years old next month, there is a lot of Legacy coding apparently (mainly frames which were cutting edge in 1999!) so as a work round until the day I update it all(!) the Blog and Search, because they use external links, load into a new window. Before nothing appeared when links to these pages were clicked possibly due to the enhanced security unless anyone knows better?

After speculating on why PAN only published three of Robert Rankin’s Brentford titles I heard from Mike Petty, who took over the Picador list from Caroline Lassalle in  1977 and he kindly offered the following information;

“I can shed some light on your Robert Rankin query. I published the Trilogy at Pan, thanks to some prompting from Alan Aldridge. I can no longer remember why the covers were so different, but I suspect No.1 didn’t sell so they thought they’d try a different approach for No.2. I’d left Pan by the time No.3 came out. You’d have to ask David Larkin or Gary Day-Ellison what the story was.

After a couple of years at Chatto I then moved on to Sphere/Abacus. I kept in touch with Robert, and nothing much was happening for him at Pan, so I published the Trilogy again, in one volume this time, plus No.4, The Sprouts of Wrath.

I then moved to Bloomsbury, where I published Armageddon: The Musical, They Came and Ate Us and The Suburban Book of the Dead. These were picked up in paperback by Corgi, who subsequently republished his backlist and became his primary publishers. I can’t remember how that happened, but ££ probably had something to do with it”

I recently contacted Terry Sandy at Durban High School regarding one of their alumni, artist Stuart (or Steward) Bodek and Terry replied at an amazing speed. He gave me the name and email address of a fellow pupil and artist, David Whitehead, who moved to the UK at the same time a Stuart but I’ve not managed to make contact, does anyone know of him?  Stuart was born in South Africa on the 17th of July 1947 and died all to soon in January 1996. I email Cecil Vieweg as he was a fellow South African just on the off chance and he kindly replied;

“Yes! I remember Stuart Bodek very well. I met him on arrival at Artist Partners, fresh faced and full of hope and ambition, but awestruck and humble meeting some of the old pros. Although he had some advertising experience, his knowhow and methods were still be experienced. I took him under my wing and we became good friends. Such a great pity that his life ended at a relatively young age. I’m not to sure about the details, but he died on or shortly after a tennis match. Late eighties, early nineties? He was represented by Artist Partners”

I have since found that Stuart married Carolyn Kaffel in Hendon in the early part of 1979. I’ve put a few of his PAN covers HERE and also included one by Liz Moyes as a place holder. Annoyingly I ordered the 1984 copy of ‘Chalkhill Blue’ a while ago and got the 1988 edition without the ‘PAN Man’ logo and so gave it away as in my new inclusion rule. Last week I ordered the 1988 edition (which broke my new inclusion rule!) as the cover was by Stuart Bodek and this time got the 1984 edition! Hopefully the right one will appear next week.Part cover of ‘Burning Bright’ by Brian Sanders featuring Liz Sanders nee Moyes.

Another Battles Boxed Set, one that got away and RIP Peter Mayle

Having mentioned a couple of boxed sets in the 1968 ‘British Battles Series’ I  seem to have found I have a third namely ‘British Naval Battles of World War Two’
As I can’t find this listed in catalogues so far I’m presuming the four titles in it are the correct ones? They range in date from 1969 to 1973 and interestingly have three different PAN logos between them.

An interesting item appeared on eBay last week but unfortunately was quite a bit above my budget especially up against James Herbert fans. It was a proof copy of ‘Domain’ published by NEL in 1984. It was the letter with it I was particularly interested in having a reference to PAN. It would have been nice to be able to add it to the PAN Horror archives I have but on checking on Herbert’s publications list it looks like nothing came of it or am I wrong?

We lost a Golden PAN Award winner last Thursday namely Peter Mayle who was 78. I can’t find a photo of him with the award but here as a couple of the books he is most famous for. One day I might get around to reading one of the ‘Wicked Willie’ series but it’s not that high on my list.

With a major overhaul of the later titles definitely due this year I’m pondering on how to list them all on the website. I was cataloguing those that still had the yellow rectangular logo on the spine but later ones only got mentioned on the blog. I think I’ll start to list them by author and show all the titles per page instead of a separate one for each title as now. The original ones with PAN’s eclectic numbering will stay the same although I do intend to rescan them all at a much higher resolution than when I first started back in 1999. I also need to sort out the search and make it more selective as it appears to give multiple returns from everywhere when all we need is the location of the cover.

Page not found?

Delving into some of the less frequently visited catalogues I found a few links that have stopped working. This had puzzled me for a while but now I’ve discovered why. Originally I was on a Windows server but last summer changed to a Linux and it would appear that Windows was NOT case sensitive but Linux is. Please let me know if you find any pages that are supposedly missing and I’ll get the page name and hyperlink to match!

Problem with search now fixed

Sorry if anyone found the search did not produce the results expected, usually saying nothing found. This was because when I moved to a new server half the links to pages from the catalogue refused to work even though they were shown on the server. I asked my hosting company to fix it which they failed to do so I found the only answer was to rename the pages, reset the links, send them up and all was well! The site has now be ‘spidered’ again so fingers crossed. Although it is now Sunday I do intend to add a new post every Monday when possible so keep visiting.