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

‘The PAN Book of Card Games’, ‘Superior Women’ and a Jack Higgins

‘The PAN Book of Card Games’ must hold the record for the use of the same artwork for so many editions over 35+ years. The original artworld is by Glenn Steward and I’m pleased to say I have it in my collection. It has been on a page for a while, but I have updated and added to it. It now includes not just PAN books by Hubert Phillips, but just to show I do acknowledge other publishers, some earlier Phillips titles. I was disappointed with the Russian version as I was hoping it might use the same artwork but not the case. Hubert Phillips (13/12/1891 – 09/01/1964) was a British economist, journalist, broadcaster, bridge player and organiser, composer of puzzles and quizzes, and the author of some 70 books.

I picked up a copy of Superior Women’ by Alice Adams and was pleasantly surprised to see the cover was by Kayes Hodges as I didn’t think she had painted any for PAN as PAN, just a few for the PAN Horizons’ series. I also found a hardback copy of this title and wondered if Kaye had seen it before she painted hers as it was published the year before? Looks like I be sending her an email shortly. It’s interesting to see the similarity in the figures and, without reading the book, try and work our which is which from the descriptions on the back of the PAN edition.

A while back I mentioned spotting a copy of ‘Confessional’ by Jack Higgins on an Indian website with a cover I had not seen before. Looking through my book for 1986 forthcoming titles I saw they had used a similar image. Now I am left wondering if there was a UK version or if it was just for overseas? Click on the photo to see the advertisement.

‘Jules and Me’ the video, ‘Queen of Crime’ and Hans Helweg

Having mentioned that Jules Burt had popped up to visit and film the collection I was expecting at least a few weeks before anything was published so I was pleasantly surprised to be given a link last week to the first of several videos. So, as Jules would say ‘Sit back, relax and let’s get to it’ -Click on the photo to see the first one, a general overview of the collection. Please feel free to leave a comment.

I see Val McDermid and PAN stalwart Agatha Christie have almost come to blows with Christie’s estate telling McDermid to ‘cease and desist’ from using the name ‘Queen of Crime’ as the estate have trademarked it. I’m reminded of Harry Hill who always used to say, “There’s only one way to find out, FIGHT!” I have noticed other authors such as Martina Cole being given this epithet; are they being warned as well?

Always on the lookout for anything Hans Helweg related to add to his pages and this time it was a reference in an edition of ‘The Puffin Post’ Click HERE to see the article where Michael Bond talks about ‘Olga da Polga’

R.I.P Your Majesty, Jules Burt Visit, ‘Still Life’ 3 and ‘Extracts From a Diary’ 2

We were staying in Tewkesbury last Thursday when we heard the sad news of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. My wife had an affinity with the Queen as she was born on the Queen’s birthday in the year of the Coronation, and so has Elizabeth as one of her names. PAN published at least one related title M14 ‘How The Queen Reigns’ in 1961.

I was very pleased to welcome Jules Burt for a couple of days last week. He popped up to film my collection and to talk about PAN books which I was more than happy to do. Hopefully the video should appear soon.

Still on the subject of the Bond ‘Still Life’ covers I know I am not alone in wishing there was one for ‘Live and Let Die’ and not the film tie-in. This happens quite often such as the 1980 Nevil Shute George Sharp covers whereA Town Like Alice’ is a TV tie-in. The Bond ‘Still Life’ covers got mentioned on a Facebook page recently and thanks to Ian Stubbs we have a version made by person or persons unknown for ‘Live and Let Die‘. Ian spotted it on another Facebook page and it is a very good attempt which fits in well as a ‘what might have been’ If anyone knows who made it please tell us so we can give credit where credit is due.

My only criticism would be it doesn’t have the PAN logo at the bottom of the spine. 

I recently had a comment regarding Hugh Walpole’s ‘Extracts from a Diary’ from a lady where she says she is looking for a copy and is offering “several thousand dollars” My copy number 3 is not for sale as it belonged to Alan Bott but if anyone else has one please leave a comment if for sale or just to let me know the number. I have once again done a trawl to see if I can locate anymore of the 100 numbered copies and have managed to find number 88 in the Bodleian Library in Oxford and number ?? at the University of York..

Another wanted dustjacket, ‘Still Life’ 2 and a 75th birthday but when?

A while ago I mentioned trying to find the dust jacketed edition of ‘Leviathan’ I had seen on a Facebook post. but so far I have been unsuccessful and now I have to add another to the list. David Hyman posted the results of his book hunt in Kent on a FB group which made me look twice. What caught my eye was ’11 Harrowhouse Street’ by Gerald A Browne was not like my copy. My first thought was for a film tie-in but the cover underneath also mentions the film. My next thought was maybe the cover was a little ‘raunchy’ by PAN standards but now I think it is probably because the film dropped the word ‘street’ from the title as does the book dustjacket.. Although Browne wrote several novels this is the only one PAN published. Thank you to David for sending me photos of the dustjacket.

Having mentioned the ‘Still Life’ series of Bond titles and that I had contacted Peter Tiejen to ask if he knew anything about their background he replied to say “No” but had asked another colleague from that time who replied “I do remember these covers but from memory they weren’t very popular (being photographic) and I believe come from the early 1970’s. The Art Director at that time I think was David Larkin, and he went on to join Ballantine Books in the States. We published some of their large Art books – Magritte, Escher etc…” Unfortunately David died in 2020 so we can’t ask if he knew anything but Derek Askem was the studio photographer at the time and I am trying to track him down. I think he has/had a photographic studio but no reply to emails so far. Derek Askem is top right in this photo and Peter Tiejem is bottom left.

By PANs reckoning, following on from the 70th they celebrated in 2017, this year should be the 75th birthday of PAN Books but is it? The date of ‘Ten Stories’ by Rudyard Kipling numbered 1 was first published in June 1947 but if we were to go by the dates of earlier unnumbered titles then it could have been in either July 1946 or 1945 but PAN Books was actually incorporated on the 1st September 1944 so take your pick! I’m going with 1st September 1944 so Happy 78th Birthday PAN.

Not as Expected X 2, Joseph Conrad 2 and PAN Pets

Having a few of the PAN Management Series I pick up others when I see them at a price I ‘m happy to pay. An example was Information Systems and the Computer’ by Peter Sanderson. It was advertised as paperback but turned up as an ex library hardbacked version. I liked they way they have bound it so was happy to keep it and then find another copy. Next one advertised as paperback but again was a bound hardback ex library version. I’ll keep this one as well as it will cost me more than I paid. to send it back. I know they are from ‘stack them high and sell them cheap’ sellers but a more honest description would be appreciated.

Having shown the PAN Joseph Conrad boxed set a couple of weeks ago I thought I’d do a ‘compare and contrast’ with the Penguin Joseph Conrad boxed set which I have and contains six titles. It must be from around the mid 70s and I left the label on as it shows the box cost £2.30 from W H Smith but if you were to buy the six separately it would have cost £2.40!

From the late 1950s onwards PAN have always published books with titles to appeal to pet owners including titles for fish, birds, cats, dogs and pets in general. Not sure if it reflects the wider world but there were five editions of the dogs book as opposed to only three for cats. Click HERE to see them. ‘The Book of the Cat’ proved very useful when we unexpectantly became surrogate parents to a little kitten a few years ago,

John Broderick, An ‘Angelique’ Lookalike and PAN/Ballantine

John Broderick was an Irish writer born in Athlone on the 30th July 1924 and who died in Bath on the 28th May 1989. He was the only child of John Broderick, baker, and his wife Mary Kathleen Broderick (née Golden) You can find more details of his life HERE The people of Athlone were so proud of Broderick they named a street after him and hold a biennial John Broderick Weekend in the city. Pan published the first seven of the twelve books he wrote around the mid 70s. We visited Athlone a few years ago and never realized we had walked along this street but it was pouring with rain! Click HERE to see the cover scans.

A painting appeared on a Facebook page that seemed a little familiar. It was a reference to a site featuring ‘The Best of Australian Artists’ and I was struck by the one from Jane Iannielo which bore a strong resemblance to film star Michèle Mercier. I posted this as a comment on the Facebook page and was surprised to find the first person to ‘Like’ my comment was the artist herself.

PAN collaborated with Ballantine over the years to jointly publish titles here in the UK and in the US. The 35 titles in the Adult Fantasy series (still scanning) and the War series (not sure how many but don’t intend to collect them) are probably the best know but they also published titles with a more environmental slant, HERE are four titles I have picked off the shelf but I’m sure there must be more. Interestingly three have ISBNs from Ballantine and one has an ISBN form PAN.

Dick Francis, Joseph Conrad and ‘Oliver in the Overworld’

I was pleased to be able to pick up a copy of ‘For Kicks’ by Dick Francis for next to nothing as it was signed by Francis but even more pleased to find who it had been signed for; Sonny Mehta. Sonny was born in New Delhi in 1942 and after working for several publishing firms he moved to Pan Books in 1972. Sonny added to its list of best-selling authors by publishing writers who went on to become household names, including Jackie Collins and Douglas Adams, and launched the Picador imprint, publishing Booker Prize winners Ian McEwan, Salman Rushdie, Edmund White, Julian Barnes and Graham Swift, as well as Ryszard Kapuściński, Angela Carter, Bret Easton Ellis and Michael Herr, leading ‘The Times’ to describe his tenure as producing “the Picador Generation” He moved to Knopf in the US as editor in chief in 1987. He died in 2019 but I was lucky enough to meet him when he flew over for PAN’s 70th Birthday bash in 2017.

Amongst the many boxed sets I have is one containing four of the eight(?) Joseph Conrad titles published by PAN. They all seem to be in two similar styles with the 1975 titles having black and white photos while the 1976 and later editions have colour paintings by John Rose. Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski was born on the 3rd December, 1857 in Berdychiv in the Russian Empire and died on the 3rd August,1924 at Bishopsbourne in Kent.

I recently emailed Peter Tietjen regarding the PAN ‘Still Life’ Bond covers as to whether or no he could throw any light on their origin, but unfortunately not although he asked other colleagues from that time. Probably the man to have asked is not with us any more, David Larkin, art director at PAN at the time where Peter worked. Peter was very much involved with the launch and publicity for The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy;’ On the plus side Peter included a link to the time when he worked at EMI and it featured an LP cover he worked on namely ‘Oliver in the Overworld’ by Freddie and the Dreamers including one of my favourite songs (don’t ask!) ‘The Song of the Hungry Drains’ Peter managed to include his name subtly if you look carefully at the sheet music cover as I couldn’t bring myself to pay the asking price for the LP!

Finally sorry if anyone tried to comment recently and found they couldn’t see the text. Somewhere along the line, probably during one of the automatic updates, the settings were changed to white text on a white background. The text was there but not visible which was a bit disconcerting. Now reset to black on white.

Three Artists, An Airport Bookstall and a ‘Not As A Stranger’ Update plus Bully!

I signed up to get the newsletter from artist agent Alison Eldred after being in contact regarding purchasing some artwork. I was pleased to see in the latest edition a couple of photos including this one featuring a trio of book cover artwork stalwarts namely Jim Burns, Fred Gambino and Keith Scaife at the Wallace Collection. Thanks to everyone for permission to use the photo.

John Smith recently added a video to a Facebook group page showing an unknown airport book stall from the film ‘The Driver’s Seat’ from 1973 based on the novella from Muriel Spark. The shot pans (how appropriate) across the titles but it is only at the start that I can spot four(?) PANs after many many viewings to find two of them are the same title. I can see ‘Death and the Sky Above’ twice by Andrew Garve and The Impossible Virgin’ by Peter O’Donnell and the hand and arm obscures and then picks up The Tenth Pan Book of Horror Stories’ In the last photo Elizabeth Taylor is being asked to chose between the van Thal and a James Hadley Chase title.

While looking for more material relating to ‘Not As A Stranger’ by Morton Thompson I came across this poster for the film but it was in Spanish. This made me look for other editions of the book not in English and managed to pick up a German copy, a French copy and a Spanish copy published in two volumes. Now I’m not sure how accurate Google translate is but I’ve added it’s translation of their tiles under the images I’ve scanned and added to the main page.

Having mentioned the Commonwealth Games last week we popped into Birmingham on Wednesday to have a ride on the Midland Metro trams new extension to Edgbaston but more importantly to see the bull that starred in the Games opening ceremony. It was certainly impressive and a very popular attraction especially when it moves and snorts smoke! Let’s hope he gets to stay in Birmingham as his future is still undecided.
UPDATE Just heard he will be staying in Centenary Square until end of September and then going to be in ….. ?

A ‘Commonwealth Connection’, ‘Brother John’ and Rudyard Kipling

With the Commonwealth Games currently taking place not a million miles from me I was interested to see the Commonwealth got a mention on this PAN poster from 50 years ago for the best window display in the UK and Commonwealth. As usual I am left asking “What happened to all that advertising material, not all of it could have ended up in the bin surely?” It took me a few seconds to get three of the four titles along the bottom namely A Start in Life’, The Persuaders’ and The Luscher Colour Test’ but Nicolas and Alexandra’ took a  little longer.

While browsing book covers I noticed an Avon title that looked familiar as it uses the same images as on the PAN edition. The book was ‘Brother John’, a story about an enigmatic African-American man who shows up every time a relative is about to die. When he returns to his Hackley, Alabama hometown as his sister is dying of cancer, it incites the suspicion of notable town officials. The book is based on the film from 1971 and stars Sidney Poitier as John Kane. The DVD uses the same image as the front of the book.

In the mid 80s PAN republished a lot of the Kipling titles with the same cover design but some as PAN in A format (110 mm x 178 mm) and some as Piccolo/Piper in B format (129 mm x 198 mm) The PAN tiles were adult themed and I think I’ve found them all but if not please let me know. Click HERE to see them. PS Is that a young Jacob Rees-Mogg on the right on Stalky and Co

A Great Find, Dashiell Hammett and ‘Cockleshell Heroes’

You can image how happy I was when I found this countertop display stand from around the 1950’s at an antiques centre in Stroud and at a price I was happy to pay especially as it included shipping. In the photo I’ve used PAN numbers 1 to 9 but may use it for the titles with dustjackets.

Having mentioned I had got behind with my scanning I’ve taken the opportunity of the ‘heat wave’ to stop inside where it is cooler and have now scanned all my Dashiell Hammett covers and related titles. PAN published only four of his five titles, not including ‘The Thin Man’ for some reason plus a couple of collections of short stories. I have grouped them by title and then printing rather than same themed covers together.

Having noticed it was the 80th anniversary of ‘Operation Frankton’ in December (I know it’s early but probably forget when we actually get there) I have scanned all my ‘Cockleshell Heroes’ editions as they tell the story of the operation. This was filmed in 1955 and at the back of the editions up tom 1970 there is an Appendix F which tells of the making but then gets dropped in future editions.