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

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.

Douglas Adams at 42, A Booktown No More and 007 Menus

On the 8th March 1978 the ‘Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy’ first aired on BBC Radio 4. I still have it recorded on a 7½” tape on my reel to reel recorder along with all the other episodes. To celebrate it being 42 years PAN are reissuing all the titles in a new format in spite of the PAN edition of the book not actually being published until the following year. Later ‘So Long and Thanks for All the Fish’ included this advertising material. If anyone has a plug spare I would be really interested. This was the book that gave DA his first of three Golden PAN Awards

On looking through some books that we are going to donate to a National Trust bookshop I found the above flier. I well remember going just after it opened and was really pleased to see a couple of shops, several stalls in the library and on the market, a bookcase in the pub and a few charity shops all with a good stock of secondhand books for sale. There were promises of many more traders to come so we were really disappointed when we went back to find most of them had gone. within a year. Now there seems to be just the one charity shop with high prices. As Atherstone was only 20 miles away we thought it would be a regular outing but maybe we are partly to blame in that in the end we actually only went twice in twelves months!

I’m sure a fellow member of the Facebook group ‘James Bond Collectable Books Worldwide’ Nick Bennett won’t mind me sharing his post from last week. Apparently the London Hilton ‘007 Nightspot’ used PAN Bond book covers for their menus. He also included a few printers proofs of Bond covers he has in his collection. Thanks Nick, looks like another item to look out for.

Kaye Hodges, A Book Exchange And Andrew Collins

While vising our Grandson in Kent last week I took the opportunity, as he was practicing baby yoga, to pop down the road to see Kaye Hodges who painted at least five covers for the PAN Horizons series. Kaye was very welcoming and the coffee and biscuits much appreciated. Her husband had kindly gone into the loft and retrieved the artwork for several of Kay’s covers which I’ve put on a page HERE plus other pieces as I find them. All of Kaye’s Horizons series covers are HERE

What I was really pleased to find was that Kaye had painted the artwork for the covers of the 21 ‘Famous Five’ series of paperbacks published by Knight Books in 1988 and by coincidence are the the same 21 paperbacks sitting on the shelf to my right. . Unfortunately Kaye is not credited as the artist in them anywhere I’ve found.

In Ditton, where my son lives, they have a monthly book exchange and luckily we arrived on the day for March. There were shelves of good quality books (my wife picked up a few Terry Pratchett hardback firsts) and I picked up some replacement PANs as they were a lot better than the ones on my shelves including an unread copy of PAN 85 ‘Humorous Tales‘ The best part was when I said I hadn’t got any books to exchange, how much would they like they wouldn’t take anything as they have so many books that they just need to get rid of them apparently. They didn’t even want anything for the tea and coffee!
While we were down there we took Grandson William to see the Moon in Rochester Cathedral and I popped into Baggins Books and came out with nothing which is not for the first time. Is it just me but I find it really difficult to just browse the shelves there?

Back in July 2011 I added a section to ‘PAN as mentioned in other books’ which has all of two entries, Peter Robinson and Andrew Collins, so if you know of any more I’d be very grateful. I was reminded of this when reading last weeks ‘Radio Times’ which features movie reviews by Andrew Collins and I was pleased to see he mentions his childhood memories of James Bond titles he read in PAN editions.

STOP PRESS Just heard that since they opened the secondhand bookshop at Baddesley Clinton, the National Trust has raised £760, 924 towards the properties upkeep. This year their Annual Book Fair is on from the 1st to the 16th August from 11:00 to 16:00 each day

Pop-Up Bookshop, Sam Peffer And World Book Day

Always pleased to find the pop-up bookshop back in Woverhampton although it is a case of “Where is it now?” as they use empty shops of which, unfortunately, there are quite a few. Steve and Bernard who organise it say it is well supported and they make money which at the end of the day is what it’s for. Managed to find a couple of titles and here are some photos of the stock on the shelves and tables.

Still sorting Sam Peffer artwork and have now made it four options under his tab in that I’ve added a section for covers painted from film still reference photos instead of them being with the photos Sam took. They are not all PAN as Sam painted what is estimated to be over 500 covers for several publishers but probably most were. Kathy, Sam’s great niece, is going through all his ledgers compiling a database so we may have a more accurate number soon. Some of the sections content is a bit thin at the moment as it is a work in progress. Just added this Digit cover with Kitty, Sam’s wife. modelling. 

Go out and support all those bookshops that were supposed to have beeen going to the wall since the start of the century because the future was ebooks. Great news as one who has a reader and has tried to use it but feels you can’t beat the real thing as sales of books are on the rise as in this slightly old Guardian article.

Camper, Hitchcock, J R Fearn and the pop-up bookshop.

We were lucky in that we managed to get away in our camper for the couple of dry days this week hence a shorter blog. We had a meal in the local pub by the River Blythe where they had a large bookcase of second hand books on sale for the local church but nothing very old unfortunately. 

The pub had been fortunate in that they had escaped the rising flood waters by about an inch they estimated but several cars in the car park hadn’t got off so lightly. Nor had the lady next door who had installed electric pumps since the last flood and then the water shorted the electric out before they could be put to use!

Just added two more Hitchcock anthologies namely books 1 and 2 of ‘Stories To Be Read With The Light On’ plus a photograph I took of the original artwork for a couple of other titles by Hans Helweg when I was in his studio. I will get around to re-scanning all the others one day and try and work out artists for them!

Amazon regularly offers me recommendations, mostly ignored, but one of them was for ‘The Tattoo Murders’ by John Russell Fearn (1908–1960)  whom I’d not heard of. He was a prolific British writers who appeared  in American pulp science fiction magazines and published his novels also as Vargo Statten and with various pseudonyms such as Thornton Ayre, Polton Cross, Geoffrey Armstrong, John Cotton, Dennis Clive, Ephriam Winiki, Astron Del Martia and others.
It was the cover that caught my attention as it uses artwork by Sam Peffer but not in a good way especially the writing of ‘Mary’ on the girls back, very amateurish. I then looked and found at least five more of Sam’s covers mangled to use for Fearn titles.  I know a lot of the Bond covers get recycled but usually more tastefully than these.

If you happen to be in Wolverhampton in the next three weeks from next Monday why not call in and visit the pop-up bookshop. I’ll be calling in shortly and usually find a few books to buy at very reasonable prices.

Crossword Puzzle, Vernon Coleman and Sam Peffer.

Apart from needing PAN X705 to complete my PAN collection which happens to be a crossword book I was also after the last two Piccolo Crossword Books numbers 11 and 12. Luckily I saw a copy of 11 for sale from a ‘pile them high sell them cheap’ supplier who, for once,  included a picture. It looks like it has never been opened, now to track down 12 but I don’t actually have an ISBN for it which doesn’t help.

At the grammar school which was attended by my son they have a list of alumni including  Sir Henry Newbolt, Frank Windsor, Jeffrey Holland and Dr. Vernon Coleman. Vernon often appeared on television and radio and wrote several books three of which were published by PAN under his real name and two under the name Edward Vernon as they were of a less academic nature! Nice to see the correct use of ‘practice’ and ‘pactise’ but then you would expect that from a grammar school pupil (speaking as one myself!) The covers of these were by John Ireland who painted a lot of sporting figures and the Guinness ‘How it’s made’ posters. I found an address for him near Norwich and I’ve written a letter but no reply so far. I hope he is still with us?

Just as an aside which is the odd one out of Newbolt, Windsor, Holland and Coleman? Answer only Newbolt has a Wetherspoons pub named after him in Bilston.

I’m still working on the Sam Peffer negatives/photos he used to help with the poses for his book cover artwork. These are not just PAN but Digit, Arrow, Hodder, WWW, Romance in Pictures etc. and I’ve rejigged Sam’s pages now with three options. The first is links to the photo covers, the second just to artwork and the third a miscellany of Sam related bits and pieces such as the below, Sam and Kitty’s wedding certificate. These will be added to over time.

Duns Tew Publishing, Puzo, Sam Peffer and RIP Kirk Douglas

I was disappointed when I found this poster listed for sale that it had already been sold. Duns Tew published Agatha Christie and Ian Fleming PAN book covers as greetings cards of which I have a few but I would have loved to have been able add this poster to my collection. The page I made a long time ago certainly needs updating!

After posting a several Mario Puzo covers recently I’ve added a couple more but I’m still one short of the covers I know exist, namely ‘The Dark Arena’ from 1989. I nearly missed the subtle difference between the 1972 and the 1977 editions of the film tie-in for ‘The Godfather’ Have you spotted it?

I’m still going through the Sam Peffer (above with Kitty) negatives and photos I have and recently added a few more PANs including ‘Miss Silver Comes To Stay’, ‘Dark Duet’  and ‘A Case For Inspector West’, the others being 10 Days To Die’ from Panther, Wantons Die Hard’ from Digit and ‘Middle Mist‘ from Arrow. Since I put on ‘Middle Mist’ I found another cover from two years later that used the same model. The original photo was from Sam’s great niece Kathy but the hands were not quite right for the Arrow cover but were for ‘Nurse in Love’ I have since found a strip of negatives which show the same model but with her hands in many different positions and have managed to pair up the right ones.
STOP PRESS More are being added all the time and the list will be update as I find covers for all the different publishers. The page is HERE

I was sorry to hear Issur Danielovitch, better know as Kirk Douglas, passed away at the good old age of 103, I always think him in one of my favourite films ‘The Vikings. He appeared on the front cover of X131 ‘Two Weeks in Another Town’ from 1962 with, coincidentally after mentioning him previously, is by Sam Peffer. Pan also Published Kirk’s autobiography ‘The Ragman’s Son’ in 1989 (Not to be confused with ‘The Ragman’s Daughter’ by Alan Sillitoe)

Puzzling Comment, ‘The Guardians’ and Wonky ‘Oggy’

I do like to get comments as they always illicit the same response from me namely that this means it’s not just me reading the blog.
I recently got this;
“I am a clearance coordinator with Cleared by Ashley, Inc.; we are working on a feature film and Production is interested in using one of your father’s artworks as set dressing in the movie. Can you please provide me with an email address so that I can you the details of our request? Thank you for your time and consideration.  We look forward to receiving your response. Best wishes, Keith Block, Cleared by Ashley”
I emailed back to say I was a little confused (no change there) especially the reference to my Father but as it was attached to the blog mentioning Julek Heller were they trying to contact him? I said I would pass on their contact details to him so he could decide if he wanted to respond or not.
They replied;
Dear Tim, Sorry for the confusion. Thank you for your reply. Trisha
So still confused but I’ll report if there is any follow up.

There are sixteen titles in ‘The Guardians’ series by Richard Austin but PAN only published ten of the titles originally from Jove in the US. I am wondering why PAN labelled number ten as ‘The final adventure in the blistering new series’ when there were at least another five later titles already published in the States at this point? Richard Austin was the pen name of Victor Milan who wrote over one hundred books and who died on the 13th February 2018. All the PAN covers are by Gino D’Achille while I’ve only identified three of the Jove editions. ‘Armageddon Run’ is possibly by D. Cook while ‘Devil’s Deal’ and ‘Valley of the Gods’ are both by Cliff Miller I only bought the later six titles by Jove for completeness, the first ten are off the web.

While visiting Attingham Park recently, to drop off some books for their second hand bookshop, I couldn’t resist splashing out 25p on a Piccolo edition of ‘The Travels of Oggy’ illustrated by Hans Helweg. It was only when I got home I realised it was a wonky binding with the title on the spine being more on the front cover than the spine and a blank sliver on the back edge. It’s not very often you come across copies like this, they are usually sliced from the top or bottom.

Nearly forgot to mention Jules Burt’s latest video featuring nearly all of the first one hundred titles from PAN. I’d forgotten how good some of those early covers were. Click HERE to see the video.

Golden PAN Awards, Lee Stannard and ‘Moonraker’

I mentioned two more ‘Golden PAN Awards’ last week and here are the recipients. The first is to Kate Morton for The House at Riverton’  published in 2006 with the award for a million copies sold being presented by Anthony Forbes-Watson in October 2019. 

The second is to the Pinch of Nom team on 9th January for a million copies sold of 100 Slimming, Home-style Recipes’ This title was only released in March 2019, reaching the million copy threshold by July 2019. Alysoun at PAN says “Maybe the fastest any author has achieved Golden Pan status!”

While still trying to track down the artists for the ‘Horizons’ series I got a reply from Lee Stannard who produced the cover for the one title I don’t actually have. It was the one a very kind librarian, Sally, in Australia scanned for me namelyThose Summer Girls I Never Knew’ by Richard Peck from 1991. If anyone does have a spare copy………? 
Lee replied “Hi Tim, Yes I did a few covers for Pan Horizons as well as Pan’s main list and Picador. I probably have the artwork somewhere but it would take some digging out – I’ll let you know if I unearth it sometime… thanks for the appreciation. Lee” Fingers crossed although so far I’ve only found the one Horizon title and this Picador. I was looking at it for quite a while before I realised what seemed familiar, my Grandfather was Edmund White as well.

I recently picked up a Bonhams photograph taken after the acrimonious auction of original PAN artwork back in 1991. It was a photo of the 1956 edition of Moonraker’ with the Josh Kirby cover but it was the sticker on the back I found more interesting which says how much it actually sold for.