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

Just because, Duff Hart-Davis and ‘The PAN Galactic Gargle Blaster’

Looking at websites, mainly for big companies and supermarkets, I noticed that the address bar changed from white to their corporate colour. Out of curiosity I searched to see how hard this was and I was surprised to find it was just one very short line of script BUT it is only visible on Android devices using Chrome so for those that are missing it in its full glory here it is!

This week is the birthday of a writer who is still with us for a change. Peter Duff Hart-Davis was born this day in 1936 in Finsbury, London and now lives in Owlpen, Gloucestershire. He is the eldest son of the publisher Rupert Hart-Davis and the brother of television broadcaster and author Adam Hart-Davis and Bridget, the dowager Lady Silsoe. His biography of his godfather, the adventurer and writer Peter Fleming (brother of Ian) “Peter Fleming: A Biography” was published in 1974.

PAN published three of his titles which I’ve added to a page along with the same titles in German. This allows me to show examples from one of my two favourite European publisher, Ullstein Bucher, the other being Fleuve Noir from France. They were not adverse to recycling PAN artwork on books with different titles to the original.

Click HERE to see the three covers in English and the three in German plus the hardback edition with artwork used by PAN for the paperback.

While I was in the PAN Archives, Alysoun kindly gave me some duplicate copies of “The PAN Galactic Gargle Blaster” which contained the following snippet for PAN Horror Book fans telling of what was to come but unfortunately didn’t!

I put this on a Facebook page and got several replies as follows;
Paul Fraser Looks like this collection of stories appeared as Dark Voices 2, Ed. By Stephen Jones-Editor and David Sutton.
Stephen Jones-Editor Yeah. After the huge success of the hardcover tribute DARK VOICES: THE BEST OF THE PAN BOOK OF HORROR, we were ready to continue the series with a much more contemporary line-up of authors. However, the idiots at Pan (but not my editor,  I hasten to add) decided to change the title and start again — despite all the hard work I had done to re-establish the series after years of plunging sales. We fought — and won — for the subtitle THE PAN BOOK OF HORROR, but it was another example of a publisher shooting themselves in the foot. Glad you kept the GALACTIC GARGLE BLASTER, that was also one of mine!
I asked if there was artwork for number 31?

Stephen Jones-Editor Tim, the cover art was always the same as the one that appeared on DARK VOICES #1. They just added a new logo. There was never a PBH version to my knowledge.
Paul Fraser Stephen Jones-Editor Thanks for the background details. Have you written about the series at greater length elsewhere (I assume there is probably an essay about the series in the first volume)?
Stephen Jones-Editor Paul, we’ve never done an essay about DT. The series eventually moved over to Gollancz, where it became DARK TERRORS: THE GOLLANCZ BOOK OF HORROR. That became another publishing cock-up, which David Sutton and I have talked about in the 2015 “best of” compilation DARKER TERRORS.

Walpole/Forester, Proof Copy and Paul Davies.

Just checking dates of births and deaths and this weeks is a bit contrived. Sir Hugh Walpole, a very good friend of Alan and Josephine Bott, died on the 1st June 1941 and is quoted on the back of ‘Death to The French’ by C S Forester (Cecil Scott Forester the pen name of Cecil Louis Troughton Smith) I have found three Forester covers in the same style from around 1975/6 but only one is credited to David Tayler. Click HERE to see them and also the quote.

While we were down in Basingstoke, Alysoun Sanders the archivist, showed us a very interesting book, a proof copy of Scenes of London Life’ which she found in the PAN library and quickly moved to the archives. I don’t suppose there are many of those around, probably as scare as X705 which I may have mentioned before and which is top of my wants list, now just above a proof copy of ‘Scenes’

A while ago I met up with Paul Davies in Cheltenham and last week came across another of his covers, this time for a title in the PAN Information series namely  ‘Taking Off’ I think I mentioned previously that the Leslie Thomas covers he drew were not amongst his favourites so I asked him about this one to which he replied “Yes! One of mine. Not as bad as some!!! I’m very happy with retirement and my drawing has improved a tad” and then in a later email he added “Just a quick note to say how much I am enjoying reading the site and the blog” which is a bit worrying as that is now at least three people who say they read it including Alysoun as above!

Two Visits

As I mentioned last week I had two visits lined up and to quote Hannibal Smith “I love it when a plan comes together” There were no hold ups to speak of on the motorways, the weather was great and the company most acceptable

The first ‘port of call’ to use an appropriate idiom was Milford-on-Sea to visit Gordon and Chrissie Young who we last met 20 months ago at PAN’s 70th Birthday bash in London. Gordon was first mate on the Laloun back in 1947 bringing books over from France where they were printed due to a UK paper shortage. If you haven’t already done so click HERE to read the first part of his story.
Below is our camper parked up for the night on Gordon’s drive.

The intention of this visit was to catch up on his time at PAN as Export Manager and although we touched on it a few times we were too busy touring around the coastal villages, enjoying a very nice meal in a quite Lymington location and tucking in to Gordon’s five star breakfast.

Gordon did show me an album of post cards that were drawn by Charles Clixby Watson and sent to him every time he got a new assignment overseas. Here is the one he was received when he went to Africa. 

After saying “Goodbye” to Gordon and Chrissie and promising to meet up again soon we headed north to Basingstoke where we met up with Alysoun at the PAN Macmillan Archives.

Alysoun had kindly retrieved my one missing title so I could convince myself yet again it does exist in spite of all my searching. She also got out the print record, incorrectly listed as Piccolo which didn’t come into being  until 1971, to show there were 40,000 copies of the first print run numbered X705 while only 15,000 of a second printing with a SBN so how come that’s the one I managed to find?

Alysoun had also got out artwork, a lot more printing records especially for all the Bond titles, order sheets and several photographs from 1964 showing the PAN Macmillan warehouse in Basingstoke. You can see the vans with the name on the side and if you look carefully in the packing department there is a copy of ‘The Case of the Sunbather’s Diary’ lying on the table bottom middle.

I would like to say a very big “Thank You” to Gordon, Chriise and Alysoun for taking the time and trouble to humour an old man when I’m sure they had much better things to do (and my wife for indulging me)

PS More bits and pieces from the visits will appear in later blogs.

Stuart Bodek Update, Paperback Fanatic 41 and Mystery Visits.

I have mentioned Stuart Bodek in previous blogs but apart from his covers there was only a brief biography. I would now like to say a big ‘Thank you’ to Stuart’s son who emailed to say:
“Stuart was indeed a graphic designer who worked through Artist Partners, run by Brian Sanders (Lizzy Moyes’ other half, we think), in London until his death in 1996. Until the late 80s, he painted from Artist Partners’ studios in Soho’s Ham Yard – now redeveloped as a hotel and apartments – before relocating to a studio in suburban London, in what had once been my bedroom. He grew up by the beach (literally on the beach front) in Durban in South Africa, before moving to the UK in the late 70s. He was a talented drummer, playing in a band at a few venues around Durban in his youth. Painting mostly book covers, he regularly used “models” from within the family as the characters for cover illustrations – my Uncles, Aunts, neighbours, office colleagues and grandparents appear in quite a few of them!  His work was mainly a mix of landscapes, romance and action images, plus quite a lot of horror (some Stephen Kings) and murder mystery.  He also did some magazine illustrations (I remember a few in “OK” magazine accompanying short stories), a few celebratory stamps, some ads, a Showaddywaddy album cover, a fair few BT phonecards and other things like the Queen Mother’s birthday china. I think this below was one of them as it certainly looks familiar plus some BBC video box covers.

As a kid, we would always stop in airport bookshops when passing through and look for my Dad’s covers… he often had one or two amongst the bestsellers list! We still have several pieces of his original artwork around, as you can imagine. Unfortunately he died suddenly one evening, suffering a heart attack during a game of tennis in January 1996 – he played a couple of times a week and was always pretty fit, so it came completely out of the blue.

It was a strange coincidence that as I got the email a copy of ‘Road to Falconhurst’ arrived in the post and when I turned it over the artist was credited as Stuart Bodek.

Also in the post this week was a copy of ‘The Paperback Fanatic Issue 41’ from Justin Marriot which featured an article on the ‘Plantation’ genre and mentions the Onstott/Horner/Carter titles from PAN but is mainly focusing on the NEL titles. There will be a page showing the Carter covers in June as a birth/death tie-in.

It also had a couple of pages showing 6 PAN titles by E V Cunningham (Howard Melvin Fast) but there were actually 9 titles published by PAN. Cunningham appears to have used another 3 single female names as titles ‘Cynthia’, Millie’ and ‘Samantha’ but not published by PAN as far as I can ascertain. To see the 9 titles click HERE

… and finally this week, after 20 months since we first mooted it, we are off to distant parts to meet up with a couple of PAN related people and if all goes according to plan I’ll report back next week.

Falconhurst, a £100 note? and the PAN Record.

I recently bought a bulk collection of Lance Horner novels. I only wanted one but couldn’t find it anywhere else on it’s own but was really pleased to also find it included a variant on a title I already had. It was very subtle and I nearly missed it plus I found I had a third and they can be seen HERE

This is not PAN related but I am working my way through Clive Cussler novels as our library, sorry ‘The Book Exchange’, has a fine run of them. I had just read a few pages of ‘Odessa Sea’ when I had to flick back to check it did say what I thought it said.

A hundred pound note? The Bank of England doesn’t issue one although the Banks of Scotland and Northern Ireland do but no one would want one of those as it’s difficult enough trying use one of their £5 notes let alone a £100.

I have said for a while I would scan in all my ‘PAN Record’ magazines and make them into Flash powered books but as Flash seems old hat I thought I’d try PDF but have finally just resorted to scanning and putting on a page as in this example for Number 30

Bookworm, an “I want it sign” and Caldwell Banned?

I always like finding bits and pieces in books used as bookmarks such as receipts, bus and train tickets, shopping lists etc. and in this case a flyer for ‘The Book Club’ I actually have two of these bookends but I must have bought them as although I was in ‘The Book Club’ I never enrolled any one as far as I can remember which these days isn’t saying much! I found one out and put a few books in to demonstrate (note choice at the front) They were not very good as they had a tendency for the base to bow.

I had a email from fellow PAN Fan Jules down in Plymouth to tell me about someone selling two illuminated bookshop signs. Unfortunately, tempting as the one is, they are collect only and in Mafra, Victoria, Australia. I don’t think I can justify the cost of a flight although I could try!

The Georgia State Assembly approved House Bill 247 on Feb. 19, 1953, with no dissent, establishing the Georgia Literature Commission but it wasn’t until 1957 that the commission issued its first ruling against a book, “God’s Little Acre” by Erskine Caldwell. This was a novel written in 1933 about the decline of a poor rural family in Georgia but despite the commission’s recommendation of prosecution, the state judicial system never acted on it.
This gives me an excuse to show my original Hans Helweg cover for this title again which I’ve just had framed along with ‘Tobacco Road’

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

‘Private Eye’ Magazine Joke, Peter Tinniswood and Frank Ross

Sometimes when I’m out and about I feel a little like the man in the above but I was pleased to hear that our local ‘Book Exchange’ (was the library until the council cuts, now run by volunteers) is extending its opening hours because of the increased demand.

Back in the 1970’s I used to listen to a radio programme called ‘I Didn’t Know You Cared’ and I was pleased to find PAN published three tie-in books which I’ve just read and the stories are every bit as good (or possibly bad if not your sense of humour) as I remembered them. They were written by Peter Tinniswood who was probably better know for his ‘Tales From The Long Room’ all about cricket.

I was trying to find a connection so I could including the five PAN titles by Frank L Ross who is not only an author but also an attorney in Litchfield, Arizona in the States. I sent him an email asking for some background details such as birthday etc as I know he is 80 but nothing so far, not even a quote for a consultation!

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.

Happy Birthday Gruffalo, George Sharp and another ‘How Much!’

‘The Gruffalo’ by Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler was first published on the 6th April 1999 so he will be 20 on Friday. Both Julia and Axel received a ‘Golden PAN Award’ for sales of a million copies plus scrolls for further sales of a million copies of other titles.

Having met Julia and Alex at the 70th Anniversary party for PAN where they were given the ‘Golden PAN Awards’ I’m really pleased for them as they were very friendly and Julia even held up my card albeit upside down. I’m looking forward to playing with the ‘Deep Dark Wood’ scene included in the 20th edition. 

Just got another cover by George Sharp to add to his page and this time I’ve checked with him and he says ‘Yes’ it is one of his. It is Green City in the Sun’ by Barbara Woods and I have two copies(?) both dated 1989 but one has the PAN Man logo on the from cover, the other doesn’t while the first copy doesn’t have a logo on the spine the other does. I wondered if it was because the logo would have covered up the creature on the spine but didn’t stop them in the later one.     

Having collected copies of Whitakers ‘Paperback in Print’ over the years I was interested to see the 1982 edition was advertised by a bookseller. Having got the 1981 and 1983 editions I thought this would fill a gap on the shelf but on looking again I think I might give it a miss especially seeing the name of the seller!

If you are reading this on Monday the 1st April it’s not an April Fool and it means the scheduled launch has worked again as I am down in Somerset staying in the camper combined with the 60 Birthday Party of my work experience boy from more years ago than I care to remember. He has just retired from running a camping and caravan park so bang goes my ‘freebie’ nights.