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

Rosalind Erskine, Ian McEwan, Mika Waltari and The Pop Up Bookshop

I knew ‘The Passion Flower Hotel’ supposedly written by a 15 year old schoolgirl, which was was its big selling point, was not true although I did presume Rosalind Erskine was female. This turns out to be incorrect as well as ‘Rosalind’ was Roger Longrigg, the creative director of an advertising agency. Roger Erskine Longrigg (1 May 1929 – 26 February 2000) was a prolific British novelist from a  Scottish military family. As well as publishing some books under his own name, he principally wrote popular novels in a wide range of different styles, using different pseudonyms for each including Scottish historical novels as Laura Black; spy thrillers as Ivor Drummond; mystery thrillers as Frank Parrish. A sequel, ‘Passion Flowers in Italy’ was published by PAN but not the third title, ‘Passion Flowers in Business’

I picked up a three Picador Ian McEwan titles recently which were all signed to ‘Claire’ and only £1.99 each. These will join the several other signed McEwan titles I have as he seems to be prolific in this respect. While looking at his biography I was struck by the similarity between his background and Longrigg above, in that his father was a Scotsman who had worked his way up through the army to the rank of major. I’ve put the three covers on a page HERE but they are not amongst my favourites.

Mika Toimi Waltari was born and died in Helsinki (19/09/1908 to 26/08/1079) He was a Finnish writer, best known for his novel The Egyptian. He was extremely productive and  besides his novels he also wrote poetry, short stories, crime novels, plays, essays, travel stories, film scripts, and rhymed texts for comic strips by Asmo Alho

PAN published just one of his numerous historical novels, namely ‘The Roman’ The 100th anniversary of Waltari’s birth was celebrated by selecting the writer as the main motif for a high value commemorative coin, the €10 minted in 2008. The reverse depicts a vigilant Pharaoh watchdog referencing his famous book. The obverse is decorated with Waltari’s signature and a stylized pen nib that symbolizes the diversity of the writer’s production.

The pop up bookshop in Wolverhampton closed last Saturday after a longer than usual stay from January 22nd. I’ve been a couple of times including last Friday as there was a half price sale but sad to say I’ve not bought anything on either of the visits. Disappointing as I usually come away with a few although often not PANs. There were a some older paperbacks but the vast majority were for more recent novels but if that is what people want and brings them and their money in I can’t blame the booksellers. It is back later in the year and I live in hope …… To make up for my disappointment my wife is allowing me to go to the Astley Book Farm tomorrow so fingers crossed.

More Norman Pulsford, ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ and Ralph Barker

After posting the ‘Piccolo Puzzle Books’ by Norman G Pulsford last week HERE are some of the other puzzle books by Pulsford from PAN.

I was sent an advertisement for ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ cut from a 1968 magazine but no Idea which although it has articles about films on the back. 

Having mentioned Ralph Barker and one of his books last week I think I have now put all the titles/editions PAN published on both the individual numbers pages and on one page HERE. Again if anyone knows any I’ve not found please email.

The above was the inscription in one of Barker’s books. Ralph Hammond Cecil Barker was born in Feltham on the 21st October 1917 and educated at Hounslow College before joined the editorial staff of Sporting Life in 1934, but later went into banking. Meanwhile, he had begun writing, and several of his sketches and scenes were produced in West End Revues. Ralph joined the RAF in 1940 as a wireless operator/air-gunner and progressed his military career until 1961 when he retired voluntarily from the RAF to write full time. His first book, Down in the Drink’, was published in 1955, the first of many on the subject of military aviation. Barker left the RAF in 1961 to write full-time. He died on the 16th May 2011.

Piccolo Puzzles, ‘The Thousand Plan’ and Paul Slater’s ‘Racing Stories’ Covers

There were twelve ‘Piccolo Puzzle Books’ by Norman Pulsford with the first six based on the PAN editions. Still need to find firsts of the 3rd and 4th editions. I’ve not found out much about Pulsford apart from some bits and pieces from Ancestry. Norman George Pulsford was born on the 5th December 1902 in West Bromwich and died on the 1st February 1982 in Westminster, Greater London. In 1939 he was living at Heron Court, Richmond and was a journalist as was his wife Margaret nee Harber whom he married in October 1934. In WW2 he was in the Army Pay Corps. Can anyone add any more? I’ll post the Pulsford PAN Puzzle books next week.

I spotted a copy of ‘The Thousand Plan’ by Ralph Barker which I hadn’t seen before and thought it looked different. When I compared it to my two earlier editions I saw why. Those both said ‘Thousand’ on the cover while the later said ‘1,000’ It doesn’t use the numeric any where else in the book and I’ve not found another edition that does. The US edition from Ballantine was retitled ‘The Thousand Plane Raid’ while the film is ‘The 1000 Plane Raid’ from July 1969. Ballantine also change the title of ‘The Ship-Busters’ to ‘Torpedo Bomber!’

Paul Slater is an artist whose name often pops up on a PAN cover and two shown HERE caught my eye as they show his style so well. He was born in Burnley with no knowledge of the formal art world but went on to study at the London College of Art, where he was taught by towering figures of British illustration including Quentin Blake and Sheila Robinson. Slater’s vivid imagination and immaculate technical detail made his work highly sought after and whose eccentric work has been bought by Heston Blumenthal, Damien Hirst and many others.

FOOTNOTE One of those odd coincidences. I am currently ploughing my way through the Mo Hayder titles, which are well worth a read , and didn’t know she played Young Mr Grace’s secretary in ‘Are You Being Served?’ as well as one of ‘Hill’s Angels’ The coincidence is that Ralph Barker’s second wife, Diana Darvey, was also one of ‘Hill’s Angels’

Another PAN Fan, (P) An Auction and Dianne Doubtfire

I recently heard from fellow PAN Fan, Gareth Brown, who sent me some photos of the original artwork he has plus a fantastic rotary book stand, me jealous, not half! He said “I lost a number of books in a flood years ago and I’ve not been the in-depth collector over the years, this was mainly in the 70s/80s.  But I went to see the Art Director at Pan when I was a teenager to express my fandom and he very kindly gave me these”
The covers Gareth got were for ‘The Eighth Mrs Bluebeard’, ‘Lucy Crown’, ‘The Case of the Hesitant Heiress’, ‘Deep Water’ and ‘Holiday for Inspector West’

On the 20th March there was a auction of several lots of books including PANs and Penguins at Warren and Wignall, Auctioneers, in Leyland, Lancashire. The auction was also the online via “The Saleroom’ website. The three PAN lots were as follows;
1) Pan Books, a large collection of the first numbered series, 1 – 443, (missing numbers 164, 182, 191-197, 210, 213, 241, 251, 253, 271, 297, 301, 341 & 392), also including six of the first un-numbered editions. These sold for £2,100
2) Pan Books, a collection of mainly assorted G series paperbacks, 1958 to 1966, various authors including Ian Fleming, Agatha Christie etc. including a small number of the first numbered series, 1947-1958, approximately 142 in total. All of the Ian Fleming books appear to be first Pan Books editions, one of the Agatha Christie books is also first Pan Books edition, The Mysterious Affair at Styles is first Pan Books 6th printing. These sold for £300
3) Pan Books, a near complete collection of GP series paperbacks, 1-102, 1947 to 1958, (missing GP11, GP31 & GP101), various authors including Ian Fleming and Agatha Christie etc. includes some duplicates. These sold for £200
To the prices you needed to add 25% commission if you were in the room and another 8% on top if by phone or online. What about VAT? They do not ship so I suppose you had to go and collect them in person. If those are the going rates then even if I sold all my books I don’t think I’d make enough for that Round the World cruise!

Having picked up another copy of ‘Lust for Innocence’ by Dianne Doubtfire I was amazed to find it was an unsigned copy. I have three more copies of this title, all signed, plus ‘Reason for Violence’, signed and at least another four of her children’s books all signed. To find one unsigned seems to be the exception to the rule. Oddly I had not noticed that one copy of ‘Lust for Innocence’ and the ‘Reason for Violence’ are both to the same person but I don’t remember buying them at the same time. I’m wondering if the copy ofLust for Innocence’ to Andrea might be Andrea Newman as they were both writing around the same time? Dianne Joan Doubtfire was born in Leeds, Yorkshire on 18th October 1918 and attended Harrogate Grammar School and Slade College of Art. She became a lecturer and tutor in creative writing and twice chaired the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School plus writing a play for the BBC. She married an artist-engraver (Graham Channon?) and they lived on the Isle of Wight where she set up the ‘Wight Writers’ Dianne died in West Sussex in May 2000. PAN also published two more of her novels namely X565 ‘Kick a Tin Can’ and ‘The Flesh is Strong’

C. S. Lewis, Recycled Artwork, ‘PAN As Seen on TV’ and RIP Christopher Priest

PAN published three titles by C(live) S(taples) Lewis, namely his ‘Space Trilogy’ which I have mentioned before but I was intrigued to get a letter from fellow PAN Fan, Jeremy Birch, to tell me what he had found in one of his copies. It was the order of service for the memorial to Lewis held at Magdalen College, Oxford plus a newspaper cutting. In 1925 Lewis had been elected a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Magdalen College, where he served for 29 years until 1954.

Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key’ is an Italian film directed by Sergio Martino. The picture stars Edwige Fenech, Luigi Pistilli, and Anita Strindberg. The film uses many elements from Edgar Allan Poe’s 1843 short story “The Black Cat” and acknowledges this influence in the film’s opening credits and is available on the internet but in Italian. The PAN ‘Fifth Ghost Book; is from 1971 and the film from 1972 so we probably know who took the image from where. The artist is not stated.

Another addition to the ‘PAN As Seen On TV’ page which I spotted on Facebook but apologies to whoever posted it as I can’t find them now. It was Adam Parsons on SKY News from around the 8th March 2024. It’s not very clear but I think it might be a full set of PAN Bond titles plus some Bond hardbacks.

Thank you to Rog Peyton for letting me know I had missed the passing of Christopher Priest who wrote at least six books PAN published. I’ve put them on a page HERE. Christopher Mackenzie Priest (14/7/1943 to 02/022024) was born in Cheadle and wrote over 40 books of fiction, non fiction and short stories. He was strongly influenced by the science fiction of H. G. Wells and in 2006 was appointed Vice-President of the international H. G. Wells Society. Priest wrote the novelisation of one of my all time favourite films ‘Short Circuit’ as Colin Wedgelock.

Jack Higgins, Crosswords and Another Fantastic Jules Burt Video

Nice to pick up another three signed Jack Higgins titles of which one was a PAN and  this time it was for ‘The Graveyard Shift’ I’ve added it to the PAN/Higgins page so you need to scroll down to see it. Just wondering who Harry is?

I’m still on the look out for the missing crossword puzzle books on my list although I don’t know why as most of the later ones look the same but just a different colourway and number. I did manage to pick up numbers 17, 26 and 27 from the 1970s and have added them to the appropriate page. Not sure if I’ll make a concerted effort to complete the lists, more just a case of as I see them and more importantly at a price I’m happy to pay!

I’m pleased to be able to announce another fantastic video from Jules Burt featuring more of my negatives/photos from Sam Peffer. I know it takes Jules a long time to put these together but the end result is amazing.

PAN’s 80th? and a ‘Golden PAN Award’, ‘The Paperback & Pulp Fair’ and ‘WOB’

I’ve always said PAN should be celebrating their 80th anniversary this year as they were incorporated on the 1st September 1944 so why did they celebrate it on the 29th last week? Answers on a postcard please. While at The Ned, London they took the opportunity to award a posthumous ‘Golden PAN’ to Lucinda Riley (16/02/1965 to 11/06/2021) which was collected by her son, Harry Whittaker, for her book ‘The Seven Sisters’

Don’t forget ‘The Paperback and Pulp Book Fair’ in London on the 24th March. I’m hoping I can repeat last times arrangement of staying with the family in Kent and nipping up for the day, fingers crossed, as it is well worth a visit especially as it is combined with an ephemera fair where they also have books.

‘WOB’ (World of Books) are certainly pushing their green credentials with a plug I got in an email from them. What I was more interested in was a photo that was included of one of their warehouses which might explain why so many times I don’t get the book I was expecting, I’m always surprised when I do. With that many books you’d think they’d have a copy X705!

One More Glenn Steward, A Mystery Solved, Get Ready For Summer and ‘PAN As Seen In Film’

I saw a piece of framed artwork by Glenn Steward for sale and although not PAN it related to his other passion, that of cycling. One of the main reasons for buying it was that it came with a letter with what I presume was Glenn’s address. We seem to lose track of Glenn around the turn of the century so as a shot in the dark I have written to the present occupants but I’m not really expecting a response.

The painting is interesting as it has a 3D effect and when I took it out of the frame I could see why. It is made up of seven layers with drop shadow added on the two card layers while the painting is on acetate sandwiched between Perspex layers. Click on the above to see it as it is framed.

I have been trying to identify the mystery man in the grey suit in this photo for quite a while and it turns out, thanks to Bernard Crossley, to be Glenn Steward so the artists are from left to right, Rex Archer, Hans Helweg, Sam Peffer, Glenn Steward, Edward Mortelmans and Pat Owen at the infamous Bonham’s auction in 1991.

As mentioned before PAN was always happy to cater for all markets and a couple of titles caught my eye especially ‘How To Flatten Your Stomach’ mainly because I have been having to expose my midriff to be wired up for scans after my recent heart attack. There was a follow up ofHow To Trim Your Hips And Shape Your Thighs’

The ‘PAN As Seen In Film’ section has always been a bit thin but now thanks to Robin Harbour it has increased by one. He spotted Conrad Phillips reading a copy of ‘Dr No’ in the 1963 film ‘The Switch’

Sorry if anyone tried to visit the site last Friday afternoon and found it down as there was a glitch with the SSL certificate apparently being out of date which it wasn’t. I contacted the hosting company to log the fault and later found the site was back up so messaged them to say ‘Thank you’ for whatever they had done to which they replied they hadn’t done anything. I think they need to read their own bulletin board as there was a message on it saying they were experiencing a problem with SSL certificates! They did come back to me to say “Oh yeah, apologies for the inconvenience. The issue was fixed quickly so we didn’t thought that it would affect your website. Apologies again” 

Brian Stableford R.I.P.

I was sorry to read of the passing of another well know name in the genre of S/F. Brian Michael Stableford was born 25/07/1948 in Shipley, Yorkshire and died 24/01/2024 in Swansea. He was a British academic, critic and science fiction writer who published more than 70 novels, His earlier books were published under the name Brian M. Stableford, but later ones dropped the middle initial and appeared under the name Brian Stableford. PAN published at least seven of his novels including the six in the ‘Hooded Swan’ series.

Recycled Artwork, ‘Travis McGee’ and Omer Atakan

Thank you once again to Rog Peyton for pointing out something I had not noticed. PAN X73 ‘Rape of the Fair Country’ by Alexander Cordell published in 1961 with artwork by David Tayler shares a part of the back cover with the front cover of PAN X152 ‘The Hosts of Rebecca’ also by Alexander Cordell.

Back in 2020 I posted a page of 56 John D Macdonald ‘Travis McGee’ covers hoping this was all of them but as usual I was wrong. I’ve now found another one, a 1982 edition of ‘The Empty Copper Sea’ just two years after the previous edition. The 1980 cover features a car while the 1982 has a semi clad lady, did PAN feel the need to ‘spice’ it up a little?

While looking at pages on Facebook I came across the artwork of Omer Atakan where he paints retro posters for films including several Bond titles. One in particular caught my eye as he has included a very familiar cover, ‘Goldfinger’, featuring the Pat Owen artwork.