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

Topliners, Horizons and ‘Odette’

I’ve mentioned before the ‘Topliners‘ series written for reluctant readers in their teens which PAN started to publish in 1968 but, apart from odd titles in the Piccolo series, there weren’t titles aim specifically at main stream teenagers until the ‘PAN Horizons’ series first launched in 1986.

There had been the ‘Heartlines‘ series from 1965 but that was really just romance for girls. PAN Horizons was for 14 to 16 year olds, male and female, with titles from well know authors covering pertinent topics. The first fifteen had uniform covers by artists such as Gary Keane (of sports illustrations fame) Paul Finn and Kaye Hodges (or Kage as she is listed on one book cover) I have made contact with Kaye and it turns out there is not enough money to be made as an artist these days so she now works at Maidstone Hospital which by a weird coincidence is where our first Grandchild was born just over three weeks ago. We have an open invite to visit her in her studio when we are next down visiting. Kaye kindly sent me a couple of photos of her original works, one for a Corgi and one for a Horizons cover on the page.. Click on the image below to see the original of the Corgi title.

The first titles for the Horizons series followed the same format with an eye catching painting for the cover but later they changed to a photo cover for some plus altering the spine logo when they dropped the word PAN from the series name. I’ve included a few that have not arrived yet, hence it says WEB if I’ve found a good image or title if not and no artists name.

The novel ‘Odette’ by Jerrard Tickell was first published in 1955 as PAN GP35, as X368 in 1965, in 1971 and again in 1972 each time with a different cover and in my opinion not always for the best. I’ve tried to find out if there are any more but not discovered any yet. I’ve put individual editions on their respective pages but also put all four together HERE

H. H. Santmyer, Keith Scaife and Baby Billy

If there was competition for the most pages in a PAN book I think ‘….And Ladies of the Club’ by Helen Hoover Santmyer (possible contender for longest name as well)  would win. The first edition has just 1176 pages but is the larger size whereas the 1988 edition is the more normal size and has 1433 measuring just over two inches thick. I’ve look along the shelves and can’t see anything that comes anywhere near it so at the moment, and unless you know better it is in number one place. The cover of the first edition is by Pam Masco who painted a lot of the PAN covers including Monica Dickens covers and the later is by Stuart Bobek also mentioned previously.

Jane Frank of ‘WOW Art’ is having one of her sales and this time it’s for ‘Halloween’ and I would love to buy the Keith Scaife cover for ‘The Werewolves in London’ but at $800 plus $87 for postage with a $15 discount it’s a bit more than I want to pay.

Having become Grandparents for the first time on the 15th of this month we had to hold off visiting due to me having a cold but by the 27th we had decided I was no longer a risk and journeyed down to Kent to see William. He was named William as there were Williams on both sides of the families although my daughter is already referring to him as ‘Billy’ as the surname is Kitchen and for those aficionados of ‘The Peaky Blinders’ you may remember there was a character by that name who apparently was a real person. Now I don’t want to name drop especially as I think I’ve mentioned this before but my wife was at school with the writer of the ‘Peaky Blinders’ Steven Knight.

13 day old William Jack lying in his ‘Big Hungry Caterpillar’ nest.

Just spotted this on the PAN Macmillan twitter page, well done Adam.

More Sam, Morton Thompson and Colin’s Book

Sam and Kitty who appeared as so many characters in so many poses on so many PAN covers.

Thanks to Kathy emailing me bits and pieces as she finds them I’m adding to pages as I go along. I mentioned I’m making a list of Sam Peffer’s photos and the covers I think they go with which will be a long term project so pop back now and again to see the updates. A couple of pages I’ve updated are Sinners and Shrouds where Kathy sent me the photo used for the finished pose and another cover, Panther not PAN, showing Sam’s boots used on the cover of the The Cretan Runner

After making contact with the buyer of the 70 plus original artworks by Hans Helweg I bought a couple of the more obscure ones as they were within my price range. They were the two Morton Thompson titles PAN published in 1969 and although Alysoun at PAN tells me there were 25,000 copies of ‘Not As A Stranger’ printed that year I am having to make do with a scan of the printers proof as I can’t find a copy anywhere, anyone got one? I do have a copy of ‘The Cry and the Covenant’ but I need one in better condition. Now if I want a copy of ‘Not As A Stranger’ from 1959 listed as M1 there seems to be dozens probably because it went through so many printings with the same cover surprisingly also by Hans Helweg. The list I have that Hans complied of his covers seems to skip 1969 but around that time he was being paid £58.16 a cover.

As has been mention several times Colin Larkin of  pop music books fame has been writing one covering the artists and artwork of the first 25 years of PAN Books. Due to several unforeseen circumstances it is only now finished and should be going off to the publisher this month for release in the New Year.  Colin sent me a very brief but full of feeling email saying “It’s frickin’ finished — after 30 bleedin’ years — its finished” which sounds like the words of a very happy man. The final piece was trying to find a copy of the photo of Sam Peffer posing as the figure on the front of ‘The One-Eyed Witness’ The only one on several sites was the one I had had on mine and was much too small to be used in a publication. Unfortunately in my ‘Great Computer Crash of 2104’ I lost all the originals but once again Kathy came to the rescue and found an image we could use (everything is now backup in triplicate) Annoyingly I can’t find my copy of the book to rescan that was signed by PEFF and says he’s the model hence the one on the page is enlarged poorly!

Bond Covers, Colin Backhouse and Sam Peffer

Since I put the Bond cover negatives on Facebook there has been a lot of interest shown in them and in fact there are now references to them on a couple of sites. Click on the banners below to see the articles.

My normal reading matter is something in the adventure/detective line but someone recently mentioned a couple of books  featuring the village I live in. I’ve now read them both and found them not as bad as I thought and I did find myself reading ‘Essie’ quite fast to see what happened in the end. The reason I mention it is because it has a cover by Colin Backhouse and I’ve managed to find all of one cover he painted for PAN, are there any more?

I’ve decided I’m not going to do a negative a week as it could take forever so I’ll just add them to Sam Peffer’s page as I work them out (not all the ones listed have a page yet, more for my reference) It will also include Arrow, Hodder and Digit covers  as I’ve found a few of those to go alongside the PAN’s.

David Scutt, Sue Grafton, on film and another negative.

As promised recently here is a link to the four covers David Scutt painted for PAN with a very recognisable one amongst them.

Although not PAN I’ve been trying to get hold of the last two Tom Adams covers for titles by Sue Grafton in her ‘Alphabet’ series. I was short of ‘E’ and ‘F’ but luckily spotted them amongst a bundle on eBay but as the price was not that much and the postage was the same as often quoted for one book I went ahead. I have now added them to the page HERE

I was really pleased to get an email from Miles Deverson with a link to an item for the ‘PAN Books as see on film’ section. It’s ‘Quiet Morning’ featuring everyday family life in suburban North London as seen by folk learning English in 1955. It’s worth watching it all especially those who grew up with the ‘Ladybird’ reading scheme but the most interesting part is at 8 minutes 15 seconds. Click HERE for the link. Still trying to work out if they are PAN’s in the stacks?

This weeks negatives are for ‘Sinners and Shrouds’ by Jonathan Latimer

Spoletta boots, Rex Stout artwork and negative number 3

When I was vising Kathy Ford looking at Sam Peffer’s props amongst them were a pair of boots and an army hat. I’m still trying to track down the cover featuring the hat as modelled by Burt Kwouk (the ‘go to’ far Eastern character model)  The boots are shown on the cover of ‘The Spoletta Storyand I’ll see if there is a negative to go with this. I’ve also included an earlier version of the cover by Clixby Watson that was not used.

I bought a piece of artwork last week on eBay that was NOT Pan but I liked the look of it. It had been on a while getting cheaper and cheaper with each relisting and then was make an offer. As usual I offered something ridiculously low and amazingly it was accepted.
The artist, David Scutt,  made contact to say the postage and packing was a lot and would I like to meet up halfway to pass it on. It then transpired David had four more covers in the series and would I like them and at the same price for each as I paid for the one eBay to which I said “Yes please”
We met up at the National Trust property of Upton House which has not featured in ‘PAN Books as seen in NT properties’ as it doesn’t have any that I’ve noticed. 
David had in the meantime found another four covers making a total of nine of the ten covers in this series. The tenth one David gave to a friend who helped him with the research.
Click HERE to see the Rex Stout ‘Nero Wolfe ‘ covers from Sphere.
David painted at least four covers for PAN of which I have two and the others should be in the post so watch for a link in a future blog..

As promised here is another photo from the negative showing the composition for a cover. This time it’s Gently with the Painters’ which would be one of my favourites if it wasn’t for the ‘green man’ absent from the original. Kathy Ford says she still has these paintbrushes.

Literature Guides, one that got away and negative number 2 +

I don’t know why but I quite like the ‘An introduction to 50 …..” titles in the PAN Literature Guides series. There are 9 with a fifty reference and a tenth just Shakespeare which slightly spoils it. I think it’s the selection of fonts that just lifts them out of the ‘a bit boring’ category. Click HERE to see them.

Maurice of Zardoz Books recently put up for sale a copy of ‘So Long and Thanks for All the Fish’ which came from the library of Douglas Adams. It was not just any PAN copy but a book of blank pages with this label inside.

The  price was just within my limits so for nine days I was the winning bidder but six minutes before the auction was up we had to go out and of course it went to someone else who had bigger pockets than me as the final price was just over £156. Just wondering if it was a PAN fan, a Douglas Adams fan or something else?

I’ve now made a page showing a second title linked to some of the many negatives I have of Sam Peffer and relatives/friends/actors posing for PAN covers. It is G130 ‘Casualty‘ by Robert Romanis. I put some of the Bond negatives I’ve found on a Facebook site and have had several request to use them on websites and in magazines as they have never been seen before. I’ve got three negatives of the four Bond covers Sam painted and if I find the last one I’ll put them all on one page or just the three if I can’t.

As a bonus HERE is a negative for one of Sam’s slightly saucy movie posters. It features Sam’s brother with his own taxi and Sam’s wife, Kitty looking in to it. I checked with Sam’s relatives this was OK and they were quite happy for it to appear. 

Kitty was 97 last Friday so I will wish her a belated ‘Very Happy Birthday”

RoMo, ‘Little Prince ‘ stamps and the first of many negatives!

I’ve always liked stereo viewers and have quite a few and especially the ones from ‘RoMo‘ so I was really pleased to be able to get a red version at a reasonable price. These are usually twice as expensive as the cream version as it is considered ‘rare’ well by the sellers anyway! You may wonder what has this got to do with PAN Books? I was five years ago that I posted this on a blog ;

Robert Gustave Mouzillat Born Suresne 1913 Died Paris 2010

RobertHe was founder of La Stereochromie which traded as RoMo, a stereoscopic image company. In 1947 he became a director and participated in the development of publishing company Pan Books. With the support of the board of Pan Books he developed a means of exploiting a new printing technique, combining text with images. This took him into the use of the photographic process in printing. He later formed a company, of which he was the sole owner, to conceive and develop a camera to produce precision three-dimensional photographic images, identical to those recorded by the human eye. The camera, which has itself not been overtaken by modern technology, produced colour positive images.

Regarding the above I was as pleased to get the packaging as the viewer when I saw the stamps. They were to commemorate ‘Philex France 99′ and featured five images from ‘The Little Prince’ as published by Piccolo in the UK.

As I mentioned last week I was kindly given hundreds of negatives of people posing as characters to be depicted on  book covers. So far I’ve identified at least a dozen titles that are fairly obvious with hundreds more that require at lot of pondering. I was having problems trying to scan them but have now found by just laying them on a light box and taking a photo it works fine. I’ll try and include a new link each week until I run out or get fed up which ever comes first so here is number one G192 ‘The Spiked Heel’ featuring Kitty Peffer.

Sam Peffer, Terrance Dicks and another ‘How Much!’

Last Monday, Jackie and I paid a visit to Sam Peffer’s relatives, Kathy and Pat, down in Oxfordshire  and I’ll leave Sam to tell you how they are all related in this extract below from his biography.

We were there for several hours constantly plied with tea and sandwiches which were much appreciated. We would have stayed longer but we were due to park up with the camper in a farmers field twenty miles away before 6:00. We are already planning the return visit as there was so much to look through. On leaving Kathy very kindly gave me a bag of negatives for photos that Sam took of mainly relatives but also some actors, posing for characters on covers. It will take a while to go through them all but I’ll put some up now and again if I can work out which was for what cover?
Here they are and the one you can see is very easily identified, can you name that cover?

I was going to mention Terrance Dicks who passed away at the end of August but I seemed to have missed this as I had already written the blogs knowing that I would be elsewhere. He wrote at least ten titles for the ‘The Baker Street Irregulars’ series but only three were published under the Piccolo imprint. He also co-wrote ‘The Making of Doctor Who’

Occasionally I look around at the silly prices that sellers are asking for ‘rare’ titles and in this case it was for a copy of ‘You Only Live Twice’ with the film tie-in dust jacket. Looks like I’m nearly two thousand pounds richer if that’s the going rate, mind you it has been there a while …….!

Hans Helweg, Oscar Marzaroli photos and ‘Book Month’

Last Monday I made a return visit to Sue, Hans Helweg’s widow, down in Hay-on-Wye which meant I could have another look around the bookshops whilst returning the material she lent me. Got a couple of Puffin editions of ‘Olga da Polga’ with cover artwork by Hans that are now on his page of children’s titles.
I was amazed to hear Sue had sold all the Hans originals that I had seen last month, envious, me! They went to a book dealer in Gloucestershire and I shall be keeping an eye on his website to see if they appear. Just as I was leaving Sue said she still had one cover that had been overlooked and would I like it? Well it would have been rude of me if I had said ‘No’

Last week I had an email from Jules Burt with a link to the BBC News website where Glasgow Caledonian University has been donated thousands of photos of Glasgow by Oscar Marzaroli. Jules thought there was one I might be interested in and it was of John Smith’s Book Shop, St Vincent Street, Glasgow, from 1962. Can you see what he saw?

I think there are nine PAN titles propped up and I have identified three easily My Wicked, Wicked Ways‘, ‘Zoo Quest for a Dragon‘ and ‘A Town Like Alice’ which was the 1000th title published by PAN. I am currently trying to identify the others. . The University is raising funds by auctioning off prints and this one had a guide price of £700 to £1,000. It sold for ……..

On the way back from Hay-on-Wye I stopped of at Berrington Hall to have a look at their secondhand books and the very friendly lady asked if I knew it was NT Book Month? I said that I didn’t and she replied that I could fill a carrier bag for a £1.00 but I said I didn’t have one. She then popped behind the counter and came up with a huge cardboard box and said fill this! Unfortunately, and I know this is hard to believe, I failed as a lot of the books were duplicates we had donated earlier in the year.