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

‘Hammerhead’ and a couple of additions.

I’m always on the look out for PAN related material so when I saw a copy of ‘Hammerhead’ by Dynamite I had to get a copy. It is either a homage or a pastiche depending on your view point and this particular cover was apparently one of seven variants produced for part one. They don’t seemed to have replicated it for the other five parts of the story. It has what is meant to look like a sticker on the from saying CBLDF from which it gets it variant title and means ‘Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’ (my speller checker is a bit miffed by ‘defense’)

Talking of homage or pastiche HERE is a link to the Honeypot Designs blog (sometimes it asks if you want to continue, I’ve not found any problems so far) It shows several mashups for James Bond books, the challenge this week is to name all the original titles of the covers used! I’ll give you a starter ‘Dark Interlude’ by Peter Cheyney (If you do a search on the site for PAN you’ll get several more)

I’ve also added another Berkley edition of ‘The Return of Moriarty’ which was a lot later edition than the one I thought I’d bought. The challenge now is still to find the two from 1981 and ‘The Revenge of Moriarty’ from 1988.

I’ve also added one more cover by Jas.E. McConnell, namely ‘The Grand Sophy’ which brings the total so far up to eighteen.

Rubik’s PAN Connection

Erno Rubik first came up with the idea of his ‘Cube’ in 1974 but it didn’t really take off until 1981 when it won several international toy awards. Suddenly everyone was cashing in on its popularity by publishing books on how to solve it. PAN, to be different, published their ‘Not Another Cube Book’ in 1981which was also published by Ballantine in the States at the same time.

Rubik later went on to develop his ‘Snake’, his ‘Tangle’, his ‘360’, his ‘Magic’ and his ‘Clock’ As far as I can see PAN ignored the first four but did publish the authorized edition of ‘Rubik’s Clock – A Quick Solution’ by Angus Lavery. This is a very thin publication, in fact I thought the padded envelope it arrived in was empty, which was another PAN printed in Australia in 1988 by The Book Printer, Maryborough, Victoria. I presume The Book Printer is part of the McPherson’s Printing Group as they share an address and say on their site:

“……. now, more than 60 years later, that same company is the leading book printer in Australia, with big names like Penguin, Pan Macmillan, Allen & Unwin, CCH, Scholastic and Harlequin among its many loyal clients”

Hopefully someone ‘down under’ can confirm this – Bill?

…. and finally if you want an instant collection  of PAN books here’s one Bazaar Fullmore spotted. I’ve scrutinised it very closely and can’t spot anything I’m after so feel free to bid.

‘Posh Book’ and Piccolo or Piper First Books?

Spotted this on Abebooks and was tempted for all of three seconds until I saw the price but then again I don’t suppose Agatha signed that many paperbacks. It’s definitely a classier rebinding than a lot I’ve seen and apparently the book originally belonged to Mary Anna Marten OBE (1929 – 2010) and was purchased via auction. It was part of a lot of Thirty Five signed Agatha Christie books bound together in seven volumes. These have now been split and re-bound into separate individual volumes. All books were signed by Agatha Christie sometime in the late sixties. This slim volume can be yours for just £575 plus £3.95 postage. Below are a few more with different publishers from the same seller, Lasting Words Ltd. and with prices ranging from £425 to the PAN as the most expensive.


This is a bit confusing as the four titles as above are listed as a Piper series but with the Piccolo logo while inside it says ‘First published by Piper Ltd in 1984 and distributed under the Piccolo imprint by PAN Books Ltd’  Click HERE to see the four covers.

The imprints and their logos are usually to be found as in the two examples above of  ‘Gangsters, Ghosts and Dragonflies’ with covers by Terry Oakes (next blog) from 1983 and 1993.

John Doxat “Stirred – Not Shaken”

Back in July fellow PAN Fan Jem Birch asked me about titles, namely which were the shortest and which were the longest. Well it turned out there were several contenders for shortest including  ‘Jet’, ‘Mia’, ‘Sex’, ‘BRM’ and ‘Raj’ but only one for the longest ‘Booth’s Handbook of Cocktails and Mixed Drinks’ by John Doxat. This was first published by PAN in 1966 and a revised hardback edition was published in 1967 by Arthur Barker which seems to be a reverse of the norm.hardbackIn the blurb in the PAN 1983 edition it says “John Doxat, who has been described in an American journal as Britain’s ‘foremost thinking drinker’, was born the day the Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated at Sarajevo; was educated at Charterhouse and in Paris; practised varied journalism (wartime service in the Intelligence Corps); went into PR i9, and thence into the broader field of publicity and advertising with Booth’s, and in 1969 became publicity manager of Buchanan Booth’s Agencies Ltd, the DCL subsidiary, distributors of Black & White and Buchanan’s Reserve Scotch Whisky, Strathconan Malt Whisky, Booth’s Finest Dry Gin, High and Dry Gin, Cossack Vodka and Hine Cognac”

Click HERE to see the page of PAN covers including one variation from 1973 I’ve only found on an American sellers website where he is asking £42.28 plus £27.07 postage!!! Doxat seems to have written many books over the years but with a consistent theme, namely drink. One  has a link to another favourite of mine, James Bond, in that 007 gets a mention on the back cover of ‘Stirred – Not Shaken’ published by Hutchinson in 1976. This seemed like a very good title until I looked on Amazon and was amazed to see so many other books with the same title plus others with ‘Shaken – Not Stirred’

I’d love to go to the Los Angeles Vintage Paperback Show on March 19th this year but it’s not going to happen so I was pleased to see two PAN titles used in the montage for the Facebook cover photo.


Thomas Forman, printers plus a couple of snippets.

Now I don’t know if I ever gave it much thought but I think I naively believed the covers for PAN books and the text blocks were done at the same printers but I now know that not to be the case. forman2So far I’ve only found one printers, namely Thomas Forman and Sons Ltd, who were a huge and long established printing concern in Nottingham until they went out of business in 2000. It was while looking at some images in the Thomas Forman archives I first spotted a familiar cover ‘The Striptease Murders’. I contacted the preservation society who kindly sent me the following email

Dear Tim.

Formans printed a number of book covers for Pan Books. We also hold printed samples of the following titles: Man Meets Dog – Konrad Z. Lorenz The Way Back – Vincent Brome Bony Buys A Woman – Arthur Upfield

Howard F. Parker (Secretary) Thos. Forman Preservation Society

I’ve put together a page HERE which gives a little of the history plus links to the newly scanned covers of the four mentioned titles. I’m taking the opportunity,when revisiting back pages, to put on larger scans. This is something I would like to do for all but it just takes time – and is mind blowingly boring!

I’ve also added a newspaper clipping from ‘The Valley Morning Star’ from 31st July 1976 which has a report of Ralph Vernon-Hunt presenting James Herriot with four Golden Pan Awards

Lastly but by no means least I’ve managed to get a first edition copy of Alan Bott’s  book ‘An Airman’s Outings’ This still has the very rare dustjacket and was published by William Blackwood and Son in Edinburgh in 1917. airmansoutings

News from the Wirral and a Piccolo Series?

We have been away for several days so a very quick blog this week. We were camping on the Wirral where it has really been too hot to be pleasant so we looked for air conditioned places to visit. One was the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight where we kept coming across a film crew in almost every room. We tried really hard to stay out of shot(!) while I was trying to remember who it was that was presenting, the one with all the makeup who kept taking selfies? Turns out it was Giles Coren for a program on Sky Arts early next year. There is  a very tentative link in that there is a marble bust of PAN in the North Rotunda.PAN I also planned to visit the Williamson Art Gallery just up the road as it has a second hand book shop but we were ‘galleried out’ after nearly three hours so went down market and ended up sitting on the beach at New Brighton eating our sandwiches.

CrochetI spotted this title on a website and put in an order but still waiting for it to arrive to add a better image. Because it says ‘Piccolo Craft Books’ it sounds like a series but so far I’ve only found two titles., the one above and ‘The Piccolo Craft Book’ Anyone know of any more?

Just realised I’ve missed Raymomd Chandlers birthday on 23rd July. If he hadn’t have died in 1959 he’d have been 128. I’ll include his covers I intended for this week next week.

Finally I think this seller on eBay could be being a little too optimistic ……..Who

PAN and W H Smith

While looking on the ‘Illustrated007’ website I noticed Peter had a photo of shop window displays featuring PAN and James Bond. It was credited to just ‘Robin’ but after a couple of searches I found Robin to be Robin Harbour, the very well know James Bond fan who happens to live just a few miles from me.

RobinI contacted him and he very kindly called round with his scrapbooks so I could scan in all of his cuttings from the magazine ‘Contact’ the Smith’s in-house journal. Robin told me he worked at our local branch in the 60’s and was asked to throw out old copies of the magazine but luckily he removed several relevant pages before doing so.

In the 60’s W H Smith ran competitions for window displays and gave prizes. I  have included all the ones we know of HERE plus a couple of other articles relating to PAN and James Bond. If anyone knows any others or has original copies of the magazine I’d love to hear from you.

I discovered that the W H Smith’s archives are held at ‘The Museum of English Rural Life’ based at Reading University. They kindly looked through all the copies they have of  ‘Contact’ and could only find a reference in number 22. They have scanned in the cover which features PAN in a window display. They contacted W H Smith to obtain their permission for me to use it on my website, fortunately they said ‘Yes’

JB1Just think how much some of those items on display would go for today when they probably ended up in a bin somewhere but then again their value is in their scarcity.

Alan Sillitoe and a few updates.

Still doing random searches for the Golden PAN Award while adding covers to go with the titles and came across this snippet from ‘The Bookseller’ from the 20th August 1960.SillitoeAubrey Forshaw. on the right above, took over at the helm of PAN Books in 1952 on the death of Alan Bott. In one newspaper article I found a passage which stated “The name PAN was picked by Forshaw out of the Dent’s Junior Everyman” Can anyone confirm that?

I thought I had found all the Frank Yerby editions from the late 70’s as I had scanned the 15 listed in the latest title but just found another ‘Speak Now’ This has a cover in a style unlike any of the others but I’m sure I’ve seen it on other author’s books. I’ll have to investigate.

I was also very pleased to find another title which has the yellow PAN block on the front and spine namely ‘Invitation to Live’ by Lloyd C Douglas

Sorry to hear Umberto Uno died last Friday. I think three of his titles were published by PAN under the Picador imprint.


A Trio of Odd PAN Paperbacks as Hardbacks

RKHGWAfter celebrating 150 years since the publication of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ in 2015 PAN tells me this year they are promoting two authors who both have anniversaries. H G Wells has two anniversaries of his own being born in September 1866 and dying in August 1946, I think I’ll give him a page in September. The other author is Rudyard Kipling but I’ve missed his anniversary which was his death in January 1936 so I’ll put a page up for him soon.

It was while looking at my Kipling titles I found a hardback I’d forgotten about namely ‘Kipling at the Taipei Hilton’ This was a special edition of ‘The Just So Stories’ from Piccolo dated 1979 but doesn’t state where it was printed unless the Chinese text does. It was to be given away at a dinner hosted by Gerald Harper who signed the edition I have. Who cannot think ‘Adam Adamant Lives! when they hear that name? It has additional pages giving biographies of Harper and Kipling plus the menu for the meal.

I also have a hardback copy of ‘Lost Horizon’ by James Hilton which is the PAN 1993 edition printed in Singapore for the Shangri-La Hotel. The pictures on the page are the dust jacket as the covers are just plain green.

The third hardback is a presentation copy in a box of Red, White and Rose’ by Edward Penning-Rowell. It is the 1967 edition simultaneously published as T27 in paperback. Both editions were printed in The Netherlands probably due to the large amount of colour illustrations unusual in a PAN book. There is a later 1973 paperback edition and I think I may have seen a hardback edition looking like T27 with the same cover but not with a separate dust jacket.

A Keith Scaife Taster plus …..

KSITAs I mentioned a few weeks back Keith Scaife was kindly looking out some of his original artwork for Jack Higgins covers and here is the first one. Keith writes;
“I was born in Hampshire in 1960 before moving up to Staffordshire where from quite an early age it was evident I would follow art as a career in some shape or form. I spent six years at college, first at Leek School of Art and Crafts getting a superb grounding in all aspects of art and design, then to Sunderland to study model making. In the mid 1980’s I produced a number of pre-production paintings for a proposed T.V. series ( which sadly never came to be ), but this then led me directly into book jacket illustration, working freelance for many of the major UK publishers”
 hope to include several more of Keith’s covers over the next few weeks.


I had a surprising email this week from Penguin asking for MY help! They had some original artwork by Neville Dear and wanted to return it. As I was the only useful link they could find they asked if I had contact details? I last met Neville in London in 2013 when I took down an email address but must have got it wrong as all emails bounced back but I did remember them saying something about the M4 and how long a journey it had been. After a quick search or two I located a Neville Dear in South Wales and rang. As luck would have it I got Neville’s wife first try but it wasn’t good news as Neville can no longer draw and paint as he is not at all well. I gave Penguin his number so hopefully they will get things sorted. 

Here are a few of my latest additions. I had 4 of the 5 Piccolo ‘Picture Puzzle Books’ and have now managed to get a copy of the elusive number 5. I also mentioned in a past blog ‘Falling Through Space’ the US edition (with dedication to D M W) of The Last Enemyand have added it at the bottom of that page. Just when I though there couldn’t be that many more Daphne du Maurier covers I’ve found another, the TV Tie-in for ‘Jamaica Inn’ where you can hear the words being spoken.

…. and finally what will probably be a weekly item, a few bits and pieces added to the Golden Pan Awards page which eventually will have scans of all the covers of the featured titles.