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

Kitty Peffer RIP, F. F. E. Yeo-Thomas and few more ‘PEFF’ photos.

I was really sorry to hear from Kathy. Sam Peffer’s Great Niece, that Kitty had passed away peacefully in her sleep last Thursday. Kitty Barber was born in September 1922 in London and married Samuel John  Peffer on the 1st January 1949 in Islington. Kitty went on to become the ‘star’ of so many of the Sam’s book covers. We pass on our condolences to all family members.

I have a friend who volunteers at the local heritage railway, Chasewater, which unfortunately has had to close at the moment but normally they get a lot of railway and model railway related magazines. Ian kindly sorts me out a random bundle which I peruse and then take them into our local library where there is a stand for any magazines to be passed on. In the last batch was a copy of ‘Best of British’ from May 2010 but with that sort of thing age is not really that important. It was the mention of the installation of a ‘Blue Plaque’ for Wing Commander Forest Frederick Edward “Tommy” Yeo-Thomas GC, MC & Bar.

PAN published at least four editions of book The White Rabbit by Bruce Marshall telling of ‘Tommy’s’ operations behind enemy lines during World War II. 

Still sorting through all the negatives I got from Kathy. Sam’s Great Niece, and although a lot of them are for publishers other than PAN I have managed to find a few more including ‘Love and Marriage’ with Kitty and Sam and Powder and Patch’

Gavin Scott, Mrs. Thrift and Eric Tenney

I’ve talked about fellow PAN Books fan Gavin Scott before and I recently contacted him again in the US to say how much I had enjoyed his “Age of…..” series and asked if there was a possibility of having some sort of signed label to put in them? (It’s well worth visiting his BLOG to see what he is up to) Well, Gavin rose to the occasion and not only sent me three labels but also a card (as above) from a talk he gave in 2017 at the Lois Lambert Gallery about another of his many and varied interests. Modesty prevents me quoting from the labels but I’ll put them here so you can read them.

As Gavin mentioned Duncan Forrester, his hero of the three books (with three more to come when Gavin has found a new publisher) possibly seeing them on a station book stall  I’ve suggested Duncan could muse of how attractive the PAN covers are next to their rather bland rivals? I would love there to be a mention of PAN as my ‘PAN as mentioned in Books‘ is decidedly thin at the moment!

As I  said last week I bought four books signed by Julian May to Celeste Parsons and Peter Tjienten above but didn’t know who the lady on the right was. I have heard back from Peter who says;
“That delightful lady is Emma Espley who was our secretary. Emma’s Mum was very friendly with her neighbour Mrs Thrift who we discovered was Douglas Adams’ Mum which gave us the idea of using her on the display material because Douglas hadn’t written the latest book as usual and Sonny Mehta was holding him captive somewhere or other until the book was writ. The flower on the badge is a THRIFT plant (hence T-Day) and the bin header was Mum at full size holding a tray of badges. Mum was trying to make some money because Douglas was suffering from writer’s block and was therefore short of dosh!!! The only pictures I have of what remains of this promotion are crap (attached) which is a shame ‘cos the finished thing looked great”

The challenge now of course is to find a badge as I know I might have more of a chance with that than a cut out of Mrs. T!
Footnote; Janet Thrift, died on the 24th February 2016. Douglas was 5 years old when his mother and his father (Christopher Adams) divorced. Douglas stayed with his mother and his younger sister, Sue. Janet worked as a nurse in the local hospital. She then remarried in 1964 with a local vet, Ron Thrift. Together they had two kids, Jane and James. The picture above of Janet was used as an ad for the promotion of the second book of Dirk Gently “The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul” (1988).
Footnote T(ea)-Day is March 11th, DA’s birthday while T(owel)-Day is May 25th two weeks after DA’s death.

I mentioned buying an original artwork by Eric Tenney of a bush baby a couple of years ago. Having picked up the Hamlyn book of ‘Pottery’ and noticing the illustrations were by Eric I thought I’d update the bush baby painting story. I think it was only a few pounds on eBay and when it arrived the glass was smashed but luckily the painting was undamaged. The seller was most apologetic and refunded a third which allowed me to buy new glass and a new frame which I was going to do anyway as it was not to my taste! I had an email from Susan, Eric’s daughter who said;
“The bush baby was called Charlie and he lived in Dad’s studio. DD rescued him from a pet shop – he was very sick and we nursed him to better health but sadly he died – not sure how long we had him?”

Signed Julian May titles, 3 from Peter Townend and a Picador

I’ve just bought four Julian May titles off eBay and they look as though they have never been read. Although I do already have them all I was interested in these as they are all signed to either ‘Peter Pann’ or ‘Celeste’ who worked at PAN in the 70’s. I knew who ‘Peter Pann’ was but I had to look up ‘Celeste’. They are the two on the left in this photograph namely Celeste Parsons and Peter Tietjen. I’ve mentioned Peter before as I have other titles inscribed to ‘Peter Pann’

UPDATE Just heard back as to who the third person is on the right and also some very interesting information concerning her link to Douglas Adams. More next after I’ve done a bit of research.

As usual I missed a date this time for Peter Gascoyne Townend, writer and photographer who was born in London on the 6th March 1935. He married Kate Moffat in 1973 and died in the London on the 6th June 1999. PAN published three of his four Philip Quest novels about a one-eyed photographer in 1973/74/75 but not ‘Triple Exposure’ which was published in the States by Pinnacle in 1979.

I’m inpressed with ‘Out of Focus’ as the photographer looks as though he went to extra mile and project a strip of film on her which includes the edge saying it’s Kodak Plus X PAN film. Just wondering who is in the photo?

I do have a soft spot for Picador titles and their covers which are often of a quirky nature and when I spotted one with a cover by John Holmes. I thought it was great and then I found I had another three which you can see HERE.  John, artist and art director was in London on the 13th February 1935 and died on the 17th August 2011. In his obituary it says;

  1. “A photographer friend introduced him to Dave Larkin, the art director at Granada Books, for whom he did covers for the 1969 edition of Vladimir Nabokov’s Despair and for The Female Eunuch (which Greer loved). A commission from Larkin for Pan’s UK paperback of Peter Benchley’s Jaws (1974) was followed by jackets for Ballantine’s editions of HP Lovecraft’s horror and fantasy novels and artworks for Fontana’s Horror Stories series. The dark complexities of horror stimulated a rich seam of imaginative and disturbing images, especially of the mutability of the human face”
    I needed to do a  quick check with Ken Hatherley and he confirmed that John was the artist for the iconic ‘Jaws’ cover version with the swimmer.
    I love those creepy Ballantine covers of his and note there was a link between PAN and Ballantine and also David Larkin in the above who moved from Granada to PAN.

An Ad, ‘Lost Horizons’, ‘England Their England’ and a few more Kaye Hodges.

I always like to come across bits and pieces linked to PAN Books and this time it’s the Press Book for the 1973 production of ‘Lost Horizon PAN published many edition over the years but this is the only fim tie-in. The merchandise supplement mentions joint promotions between PAN Books and Bell Records plus window and in-store displays at W H Smith, Boots and Menzies. The Bell Records soundtrack was moderately more successful than the film, peaking at No. 58 on the Billboard Hot 200!

Sorting through some early titles made me wonder how many different editions PAN published over the years of England Their England‘ by A(rchibald) G(ordon) Macdonell. I think the answer is six but having said that I will now come across a seventh which strangely seems to be often the case.

…. and a quick final note I’ve added more of Kaye Hodges non PAN covers to her page HERE including some Monica Dickens and Catherine Cookson titles.

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.