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 www.tikit.net or www.panfans.club

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  www.tikit.net or www.panfans.club

Hans Helweg’s ‘Shutes’, Evan Hunter and ‘Cover Me’

Amongst the many sketches I have in Hans Helweg’s folders are several for Nevil Shute covers. I’m starting to compile a page featuring Hans’ Shute covers and the preliminary sketches and paintings that go with them which can be seen HERE. With them not being signed, well not obviously although he did put in the occasional HH, I’ve used the sketches, paintings I have or where in his workshop, the printers proofs he had on file and his list he made of the covers he could remember. I was pleased to find X117 was one of his as he had a printers proof for the 1962 edition and in his list he says the 1968 version is listed as a Redo.


A while ago, while featuring Ed McBain I mentioned that he was really Evan Hunter and PAN only published one title  under this name, Nobody Knew They Were There’  Now I know you’ll find this hard to believe(!) but I was wrong and have found another one and I think there may be more plus he also wrote as Richard Marsten so ‘The Spiked Heel’ was another published by PAN. It says ‘Come Winter‘ is the sequel to ‘Last Summer’ although this latter title wasn’t published by PAN.


After including the obituary of David Larkin from the Macmillan magazine last week, this issue also included a write up onCover Me’ by Colin Larkin published by ‘TELOS’

Jackie Collins, ‘Castle Ugly’ and ‘I leap Over the Wall’

Although I have yet to read all of a novel by Jackie Collins I have mentioned her several times as she was one of PAN’s best selling authors receiving 9 (?) ‘Golden PAN Award’s for selling a million copies each of 9 titles. I am currently trying to track down all the editions with covers by George Sharp from around the late 1980s but again the old problem of no image from a seller and the same text block and date used for several editions. These are ones I have or have found on the web so far HERE but if you can help with others please get in touch. Some of the dates also need double checking as they are outside the range for this series. I contacted George to ask him about them and he said “As for the covers I did for Jackie Collins I can only remember one or two of them. My son Ben has the original artwork of one hanging in his office. I like it a lot! Jackie was a most likeable person, very relaxed and natural. Everyone liked her” Photo below shows George on Jackie’s left.


While going through the list of Hans Helweg covers I found one listed as ‘Castle Ugly’ which was not a familiar title. I know the list says they are PANs but I have also found there are a few from other publishers and magazine illustrations. Luckily I found one copy online from Maurice at Zardoz and was really pleased with the condition when it arrive but a bit disappointed with the artwork on the cover although it is clearly signed H.Helweg so Hans liked it as he didn’t sign all his work. As far as I can tell PAN only published this one title from Mary Ellin Barrett (born November 25th 1926) who was the daughter of composer Irving Berlin.


This weeks sketches from Han’s folders are for ‘I Leap Over the Wall’ by Monica Baldwin of which PAN published many editions with cover variants. Han’s cover goes with the 1971 edition.

Keith Scaife Update, Brian Sanders and Tony Whitehorn

After visiting Keith Scaife recently I put together a page showing the original artworks for his ‘Jack Higgins’ covers using photographs I took. It wasn’t until Keith sent me much better photographs that I realised I had forgotten one! Click HERE to see the page which now has ‘Dillinger’ and the other covers as photographed by Keith.


It’s odd how Google will suggest random things based on searches but from a while ago. Having mentioned Brian Sanders recently, due to the sad loss of Lizzie, it decided I was interested in the stamps Brian designed – and surprisingly I was! I think it was five sets for the UK plus others for countries around the world. The five subjects here were British Police, Fishing, Youth Organisations, RAF and The British Council. Looking on eBay I cannot understand how sellers can make money as I bought all five sets for between 99p and £1.50 each including postage. The face value of one mint set bought for 99p comes to £1.04 and they can still be used legally so definitely quids in. I’m added then to Brian’s Page as they arrive in the post.


Having mentioned Tony Whitehorn, the ‘blurb’ writer at PAN in the early 60’s I can now put a face to the name as thanks to Tony and his son Stephen his reminiscences now have a couple of photos. One is from his days at PAN while the other is from a couple of years ago. In emails Tony mentioned another couple of titles he particularly remembers. Of the first he says “The most important copy of course was that on the back cover, which with the artwork was the main means of selling the book. With crime fiction I often tried to create a sense of foreboding, sometimes by painting an innocuous, even idyllic, scene before subverting it with a disturbing note — as with ‘Evil Under the Sun’, one of the best Christies” Regarding the second title Tony says “I remember that the last ever blurb I wrote for Pan was on my last day. It was for another Alan Burgess book, ‘The Lovely Sergeant” Tony is not very well at the moment so we wish him all the best for a speedy recovery.
UPDATE Just heard from Steven Kennedy, the editor of ‘Macmillan Together’ who kindly sent a copy of Tony’s article as it appeared in the magazine. Click HERE to see it.

Merry Christmas and Lydia Monks.

Seasons greetings PANFans and I hope you get all those elusive titles in your stockings this year. I’ve asked Santa for ‘X705’ AGAIN this year after being let down on so many previous ones. I made a few greetings cards from the artwork above of which I have the original by Gavin Rowe from 1972. If you click on it you can see which book it was for.


As I mentioned last week I would like to say a very big “Thank You” to Lydia Monks who, when I contacted to congratulate her on her ‘Golden PAN Award’ and to ask to buy a signed copy, by return of post sent me a lovely complimentary copy very much personalised for our Grandson William Jack. Unfortunately I am being forced to give it him for Christmas-  Bah Humbug!

Lydia not only dedicated it to William but added all the figures from the story. Mind you I’m keeping the signed card that came with it.

HERE is a page showing Julia and Axel with their awards plus Lydia with hers and several of their book jackets with stickers for milestones over the years.


As for presents I do know I’m getting ‘Flames Coming Out of the Top with the second elusive book jacket but this is only because I bought it myself! Hopefully it will appear in the blog after Christmas when I’ll re-scan all the three variant covers plus the three for “Action For Slander”

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!

Lydia Monks, a PAN Flyer and Alexander Knox

While looking through Twitter feeds from various sources I came across a reference to Lydia Monks being awarded a ‘Golden PAN Award’ on the 26th February in the foyer of the PAN offices. It was for illustrating ‘The Ladybird Who Heard’ with text by another winner, Julia Donaldson.


Another PAN related item I found on Twitter was an image of one of the PAN flyers from 1962. It’s just a pity they didn’t do a better job and get it all in!

I’ve emailed them to ask if they could kindly let me have a photo or scan to show all of the flyer. I’ll report back as soon as I have any further news.


In keeping with my intention to feature an author who was born or who died in the week of the blog, this time is is the turn of Alexander Knox. He was born on the 16th January 1907 in Strathroy, Ontario, Canada and died on the 25th April 1995 at Berwick-Upon-Tweed in the UK. He was probably better know for his role as an actor than as an author, credited with 93 appearance in films or on TV but only writing 6 books. As far as I can ascertain PAN only published two of his novels which can be seen HERE

The Gruffalo 2, Wilbur Smith, Len Deighton & an unexpected email.

As I mentioned last week ‘The Gruffalo‘ was 20 years old on the 6th April and I was very pleased to find the copy I had ordered turned out to be a signed edition from Waterstones. It was no more expensive that the cheapest prices from other dealers, just wondering how many copies Julia and Axel actually signed?

Still trying to find a list of the 22(?) Wilbur Smith titles that won a ‘Golden PAN Award’ but in the meantime here are three different versions of the same cover for ‘Cry Wolf with the artist, Kevin Tweddle, only being credited on the later edition. I did try to contact Kevin quite a while ago at a pub he was supposed to be running but no luck. Might be time to try again. Interesting to see how the prices have gone up over the years.

A while ago I said that PAN hadn’t published many titles by Len Deighton but he had endorsed a couple by other authors. I’ve just found two more to add to the list, they are by by Max Hastings.

I send off many emails and letters and get about a 50% hit rate so this week I was pleasantly surprised to get a reply to one I sent last October. I asked Paul Roberts about his artwork used for the Timothy Harris covers and he said; “Hi Tim, The painting was sold and yes I did know that Pan used the painting, one half on one book and the other on the other. I don’t mind at all if you use the image. Quite a few have been used as book cover illustrations a whole series of George V Higgins books published by Robinson Publishing” Here are a few of the Higgins covers I’ve got off the various websites.

Antoine de Saint-Expury, Colin Dexter and Peter McGinn

Well here we are a week after all the updates and my website seems to have survived. It is now telling me there is an update to my theme but as it has been saying that for a long time I will ignore it as I think I’d lose all the changes I’ve made to it’s appearance over the years.

Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint-Exupéry was a French aviator who disappeared during WW2. He had three of his works published by PAN, two concerned with flying ‘Wind, Sand and Stars’ and Flight to Arras plus his children’s book ‘The Little Prince’ I was reminded of these as the first two have covers with GDA on them for Gino d’Achille.

Not a true PAN Colin Dexter but I did pick up ‘As Good as Gold’ which was a ‘give away’ by Kodak but published by PAN. An added bonus, which I didn’t realise at the time, was that it is inscribed and signed by Colin.

Last week one of the Hammer Horror books had a cover by Peter McGinn and I’m pleased to say, thanks to the help of his son John, who is also an artist, I made contact. John is currently in Hong Kong but gave me his father’s phone number in the States and I rang Peter and had a very long chat with him at his home in Sarasota, Florida. Although 87 and ‘retired’ he still paints.

Last week one of the Hammer Horror books had a cover by Peter McGinn and I’m pleased to say, thanks to the help of his son John, who is also an artist, I made contact. John is currently in Hong Kong but gave me his father’s phone number in the States and I rang Peter and had a very long chat with him at his home in Sarasota, Florida. Although 87 and ‘retired’ he still paints.

Although the Hammer one might be the only cover Peter did for PAN he painted many for other publishers. He studied at the Edinburgh College of Art, was involved with the Edinburgh International Festival , he worked in the middle east as an ETV production designer and schools programming//designer/instuctor for the BBC, he worked in Poland making films for which he had to learn Polish, was Professor of Figure Drawing and Painting/ Illustration at Ringling College of Art and Design, collaborator with John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art plus many more jobs. I hope to have another chat with him one day as he said he’d love to go out for a drink and compare notes on people at PAN.

The Hammer House of Horror

This week I have had to install a backup for this blog, then run the WordPress update and also update the version of PHP to 7.3 so I’ve been reluctant to do too much to it in case it all went wrong. Plus I have been working down our old railway track or our allotment in spite of Storm Gareth so I’ve only one item but it’s a quality one.

I was sorting through boxes of bits and pieces I had put on one side moving my collection to my ‘library’ last year when I came across some John Burke contracts including three related to the Hammer Horror titles, namely ‘The Hammer Horror Omnibus’ English ‘and Italian editions and “The Second Hammer Horror Omnibus” English edition. I contacted Johnny Mains who pointed me in the right direction to get the Italian edition but when I showed him the Dutch edition, which he didn’t know about he said “****”

I was surprised to find that the Dutch edition was published by K-Tel who I always thought of as producing those products that were suitable to give to some one who had everything such as the brush-o-matic and the disc-o-matic. The latter was a record selector and I actually still have a couple somewhere along with some of the compilation records tha K-Tel produced.

With this new version of WordPress there seems to be a lot more options such as having coloured backgrounds etc and tempted as I am to use them all I’ll stick with my tried and tested format although I’m not saying there won’t an occasional foray into different realms!

Having now played around with this version a bit more I think I prefer the earlier one but I have discovered I can switch parts of it back to ‘Classic’ ie the previous version. If I use that with the ability to add html I might be able to do what was so simple before.

PS Still waiting to hear back from four artists but as it is now 2 months since writing to one of then I may put that down as a failure!

Janet Sandison aka Jane Duncan, Dexter additions and raw fingers!

After falling off a ladder last week in our side passage and managing to run the fingers of my hands down both brick walls trying to brace myself I have nicely skinned all my finger tips. This is making typing and using a mouse a little painfully but on the plus side it has got me out of a lot of other things!

I eventually got the last title in the ‘An Apology for the Life of Jean Robinson’ series by Elizabeth Jane Cameron who wrote as Jane Duncan writing as Janet Sandison! Janet Sandison was the name of the main heroine in her ‘My Friends” series in which there were nineteen titles with fourteen of them published by PAN. I’ve not found artists for the first three titles but I did find a reference to the fourth being by Jooce Garrett and I’ve sent him an email to see if this is correct.

I also picked up another three editions in the Colin Dexter ‘Morse’ series that have the PAN Man logo on them from 1983 and 1984 (LBTW, TSWONQ, TROTTM) They might be seen as the ‘International’ editions as they are not TV tie-ins for countries where the series was probably not broadcast and on the plus side I don’t think they’ve ever been read.

If the fingers are up to it I’ll try and re scan all the Jane Duncan ‘My Friends’ titles and put them on one page as they are still under their PAN numbers at the moment.

UPDATE Have just heard back from Jooce Garrett to say that the Sandison cover is his and was the first one he did. Have also heard from Paul Wright who asked me to remind him which PAN covers were his which I’ve done and awaiting further communication.