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

“Slave Ship’, ‘Slave Stealer’ and ‘Heir to Falconhurst’

This weeks blog features more of the artwork and sketches by Hans Helweg for three titles in the slave/plantation genre with possible voyeuristic overtones. PAN covers tended to be more restrained than those from other popular publishers and these are probably about as ‘titillating’ as they got.

1) Slave Ship by Eric Corder. This is the a pseudonym of Jerrold Mundis who was born in the Midwest USA. He has been an editor at The New York Times, and is an experienced teacher of professional and avocational writing Among his many books was a nautical one, ‘Slave Ship’, banned in Australia in 1971.  One of the censors wrote that: ‘This is a gruesome, horrifying and apparently semi-factual account of an American slave-ship’.

2) ‘The Slave Stealer’ by John Boyd. This was the primary pen-name of Boyd Bradfield Upchurch who was born in Atlanta on October 3rd 1919 and died June 8th 2013. His best known work is his first science fiction novel, The Last Starship from Earth’, published in 1968. Boyd wrote eleven science fiction novels, five other novels, and one biography.. The other titles PAN published were Polliinators of Eden’ and Rakehalls of Heaven’

3) ‘Heir to Falconhurst’ by Lance Horner. He is a historical romance author best known for penning the Falconhurst series alongside Kyle Onstott. The novels are sensational narratives set in a slave plantation in post and pre Civil War Alabama. It follows the story of slaves and slave-owners on Falconhurst, This  is one of the series published by PAN along with ‘Mandingo’, Falconhurst Fancy’.The Mustee’, Flight to Falconhurst’, ‘Mistress of Falconhurst’, ‘The Master of Falconhurst’, ‘Taproots of Falconhurst,’, ‘Scandal of Falconhurst’ andRoad to Falconhurst’ 

‘Drum’, ‘Three Restoration Comedies’ and a ‘new’ cover.

The first of the two covers by Hans Helweg this week is for T14 ‘DRUM’ from 1965 by Kyle Onstott. PAN produced at least three different covers with the first being slightly tweaked for the third varient of it where the figures are moved in front of the buildings., not really sure if that actually improves it!

The second Hans Helweg cover is for X356 ‘Three Restoration Comedies from 1965 which was also published as GP15 in 1953.with an introduction Norman Marshall. The three plays are ‘The Way of the World’ by William Congreve, ‘The Beaux’ Strategem’ by George Farquhar and ‘The Country Wife’ by William Wycherley. This is one in the ‘Famous Plays Series’ of which PAN published many over the years. I feel a page coming on!

It’s always a surprise to find an ‘new’ cover for the numbered sereis as I spotted on eBay. Unfortunately I was not the only one and the fierce bidding soon reached double figures, luckily I managed it for £10 which is about five times what I’d like to pay, It was from Milo in the Netherlands whom I’ve bought off before as he  had the less common covers but not for a while.  It was for X349 ‘The Battle at the Villa Fiorita’ of which I only had the film-tie in version but have now got another with the same date but a painted cover although I can’t spot an artists name. It looks as though it might be based on the hardback 1963 Macmillan edition cover as below painted by William Stobbs. I was intrigued to see the message on the back of the one I have just recieved that says ‘Special Open Market Edition’ which I’ve not noticed on a cover before. I found this which explains it Open market When rights have been granted exclusively in North America and the British Commonwealth the rest of the world is typically considered an open market. This means both the US and the British publisher may sell there’ 

Next weeks blog is a special with three Hans Helweg sets of sketches for covers with a very similar voyeuristic theme!

Farley Mowat, Nevil’s Plaque and ‘The Nun’s Story’

Farley McGill Mowat was born on May 12, 1921 and died on May 6, 2014. He was a Canadian writer and environmentalist and his works were translated into 52 languages, He sold more than 17 million books and achieved fame with the publication of his books on the Canadian north, such as ‘People of the Deer’ (1952) and ‘Never Cry Wolf’ (1963). PAN published 11 of his titles  but didn’t publish ‘People of the Deer’ but did ‘Never Cry Wolf’ of which PAN also published the film tie-in in 1984. I’m still waiting for one title to arrive from the States but I suspect. although listed as Piccolo, it will be the wrong edition as I’ve yet to find one ‘in the wild’ To see the 10 of the 11 titles I have so far click HERE Unusually, up to the film tie-in, PAN were reasonably consistent with the cover style especially the authors name.

After mentioning Nevil Shute Norway and his plaque in Sydney on a Facebook ‘Shutist’ page a lady kindly mentioned there was a book about the 60 writers with an Australian connection with plaques along the harbour waterfront. I then noticed my niece’s husband, Wade’ was down from Darwin in Sydney on business and I jokingly asked him if he was around there was ther any chance of a photo? Well he came up trumps but then again he is a photographer so I’m sure it was an offer he couldn’t refuse and some of his photos have appeared on Australian Tourist Board posters. I’ve put them on a page HERE

This weeks Hans Helweg artwork and sketches are for the Kathryn Hulme title ‘The Nun’s Story’ I’ve also included the earlier editions with covers by Sam ‘PEFF’ Peffer with film reference stills. I also found another painting of the castle to go with last week’s cover of ‘Death in the Castle’

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.