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

‘Jamaica White’ plus another HH, Jean Plaidy and Louis Shabner

This weeks Hans Helweg sketches are for ‘Jamaica White‘ by Harold Underhill. I was pleased to find three sketches that corresponded to the three elements on the cover. A couple of days ago I received a copy of the Puffin edition of North Against The Sioux’ by Kenneth Ulyatt with a cover by Hans and it seems to be very similar to a ‘rough’ painting I have, especially the chief on the horse on the back cover. I’ve added it to all the other childens covers using the ‘bookmark’ option so I hope the link jumps straight to it eventually!

While looking at Pat Owen covers I noticed he did several for Jean Plaidy (Eleanor Alice Burford Hibbert, born London, 1906 and died at sea between Greece and Egypt, 1993) so I decided to sort them by series. This was easier said than done as PAN did not publish all the titles in a series and not all series. This weeks selection is the Georgian Series of which PAN did publish all ten titles. I’ve no managed to sort any of the artists but interestingly for the first six titles each chapter has a illustration as a heading as below by Balint Stephen Biro better known as Val Biro.

Having mentioned Stuart Webb and his research into Louis Shabner previously I was pleased to get an email from him to say his book ‘The Art of Louis Shabner’, better know to PAN Fans as SHELDON, will be published by Telos in December.

Heinz Konsalik, Pat Owen and ‘Prester John’

I have to admit I had never heard of Heinz Konsalik (Heinz Günther May 28th, 1921 to October 2nd, 1999) until I spotted one of his titles published by PAN. On looking for others I have picked up five of his six romance titles plus a war one. These cost a couple of pounds so why are sellers asking a silly price for the one it looks like I’m not going to get, well not at those prices.

The New York Times said “He was one of the most popular postwar novelists in Germany, whose books have sold more than 80 million copies worldwide” What stood out for me was how bad the covers were! I’ll leave you to see if you agree with me when you click HERE.

As I’m sure you know Pat Owen was another prolific PAN cover artist and I am very grateful to Pat’s wife Sue for sending me a list of his covers from his ledgers. Sue has promised me some photos and a brief biography which I will add to the page as soon as it arrives. I am currently going down the list making the titles into links and recanning the covers so it will be an on going project. We know there are even more and will add them as we find the, The Robe’ wasn’t in the list but I know it is one of Pat’s as I have the original artwork.

This weeks artwork by Hans Helweg is a couple of preliminary ideas for the 1972 edition of Prester John by John Buchan. I’ve added it to the earlier PAN editons from the 50s.

‘TTTLIH’, Alan Cracknell and ‘The Railway Children’

This weeks Hans Helweg artwork is for one of the many covers for the Monsarrat title ‘The Tribe That Lost Its Head’ I was interested to see there was a Monsarrat collection at The Athenaeum, Church Alley, Liverpool. On the site it shows a bookcase and within are some PAN editions. On close scrutinisation I think that ‘TTTLIH’ is there and if you want some help click on the photo.

Maybe I should have saved this one for Christmas but I was pleased to get a vintage Advent Calendar designed by Alan Cracknell from the States.

The weekend before last we had our first coach trip since lock down. I know a coach trip is not everyones idea of ‘fun’ but as my wife doesn’t drive I am happy for someone else to take on the responsibility. I can just switch off safe in the knowledge if something goes wrong I don’t have to sort it out. You also get good value for money as we had a comfy COVID aware coach with seats at the front, a excellent hotel with spa bath in our room, visits to several places and an included trip on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway’. Now you may be wondering what has this to do with PAN Books? Although they didn’t actually publish the book by Edith Nesbit at the time of the film. that was Penguin, they did publish two film tie-ins. One was a papersculpture ‘make two engines from the film’ book and the other The Story of the Railway Children’ was the book of the film, which was largely shot on this heritage railway.

Juliette Benzoni, ‘Fanina’, The Pop Up Bookshop and ‘Flog It’

Having mentioned Linda and the Juliette Benzoni appreciation website when we speculated on book cover artists, I feel honoured to have received an award from her. It is the Catherine de Montsalvy trophy which of course as you all know is the full name of Catherine, the heroine of many of JB’s books. PAN published several titles in different editions some of which  can be seen HERE.

This weeks Hans Helweg’s artwork is for two titles by Pierre Sabbagh and Antoine Graziani, namely ‘Fanina’ and ‘Fanina, Child of Rome’ As far as I can tell these are the only two titles in the series. Pierre Sabbagh, born Lannion on the 18th July 1918 and died 30th September 1994,  was a major personality in French television, as a journalist, producer and director.

The pop-up bookshop made a welcome return to Wolverhampton but I nearly missed it as I wrote down the end date and not the start date! It was there for three weeks and hopes to return again later in the year. I bought a couple of duplicates that were in very good condition as upgrades.

Luckily there was an announcement that Ian Fleming was going to be mentioned during ‘Flog It’ otherwise I might have missed that as well as the pop-up bookshop. Paul Martin visited Fleming’s house, Whitecliffs, at St. Margarets Bay and then interviewed Graham Rye of 007 Magaine’ I’ve added five screen shots from the programme featuring PANs at the bottom on the ‘As Seen on Television’ page.

Paperback Parade #109,’Classics’? and Juliette Benzoni

Thanks to Jules Burt and one of his very informative videos I was able to get hold of a copy of ‘Paperback Parade #109’ from Gryphon Books which featuted an article on Sam Peffer with one of his covers featuring Kitty on the front cover. I was pleased to see I have the reference photos for at least twelve of the covers featured in the article.

While loking through Hans Helweg’s sketches and his ledgers I was pleased to get confirmation the eight  titles in the series issued by PAN in the mid 60s with a sort of border around the title making them ‘Classics’ were by Hans for which he got paid £25.40 for each one. I was pleased to see ‘The Time Machine’ was included as this image was used for several editions and I can now credit it. PAN included an image of the authors on the back apart from Edmund Clerihew Bentley so to put that right I’ve included him here.

Having been in communication with Linda, who runs the excellent website dedicated to Julitte Benzoni, I’m pleased to say she has got confirmation of three covers by Gino d’Achille from Gino’s daughter, Simona. Simona said how she and her mother were often used as models and it is her mother on the cover of ‘Catherine and a Time for Love’ 

Cecil Vieweg, ‘As Seen at …..’ and Alfred Hitchcock.

Having been in communication with Cecil Vieweg recently he sent me additional images of the original artwork he has for some Arrow and Fontana covers with the promise of a lot more, I’ve added them to his page so scroll down. I know they are not PAN but I do appreciate the artwork and especially like the style on his Howard Spring and Marie Joseph titles. It was ‘Shabby Tiger’ by Spring that was supposed to have been sent back in February and arrived the week before last. It just shows don’t give uip hope, maybe the three from Canada will appear one day soon, fingers crossed.Hi

Having recently visited the National Trust property of Nuffield Place I was hoping to be able to add another ‘PAN as seen at a National Trust property’ but had to settle for the next best thing, a book by Alan Bott. It was there in Lord Nuffield’s bedroom amongst a very eclectic mix of other titles. He also liked to ‘tinker’ at night and he had a wardrobe in his bedroom where he keep his tools etc, apparently Lady Nuffield slept in another room, I wonder why? I just wished now I had asked if it was possible to see if it was signed?

This weeks Hans Helweg sketches are for a classic cover used for two of Alfred Hitckcocks collections titled Stories That Scared Even Me’ oddly labelled Part One and Book Two!

Only just noticed this is my 500th WordPress blog.
Here’s to many more.

Thomas Tessier, ‘Paperbacks at War’ and a couple of Hans covers.

Always on the look out for that ‘little bit different’ cover I came acrossPhantom’ by Thomas Tessier with a cover by Gary Blythe. featuring a couple of cut outs. I was once told by a printer that publishers didn’t like this sort of thing as it was very expensive. It must add to the production costs but ‘very expensive, any one know if that is true? Gary Blythe painted a few covers for PAN including the later Walter Macken Irish trilogy. The other PAN Tessier cover I’ve added is by Chris Moore who did many covers for them especially science fiction titles.

‘Paperbacks at War’ is the latest offering from Justin Marriott and it took me a while to realise the cover was from the PAN edition of Book 1 in the SAS series by James Allbany namely ‘Warriors Caste’ The artwork is by Paul Simmons and when talking about artists to Justin he added in his email that Jim O’Brien, who was Copy Editor, though the lead character reminded him of Oliver Tobias?  When I meet up with Paul, hopefully sometime soon, I’ll ask him.

This weeks sketches to go with Hans Helweg covers are one definate and one probably a couple of working ideas. The first is for the background to ‘The Malayan Trilogy’ by Anthony Burgess and the second The Horsey Set’ by Pamela Moore.

Quick update since moaning last week about books not arriving well last Saturday one from mid February did arrive. from the States. I’ll mention it in the next blog.

Hannah Green, ‘Lost Horizon’ and a Loud Raspberry!

Having had M184 ‘I Never Promised You a Rose Garden’ by Hannah Green on the shelf unread (by me and anyone else by the look of it) I saw there was another edition and then on further investigation found PAN published four as PAN’s and one as a ‘Pavanne’. Maybe one for the reading list ……? Her real name was Joanne Greenburg and PAN published three of her titles written under this name plus too as ‘Pavannes’

This weeks Hans Helweg artwork is for the 1966 and 1976 editions of ‘Lost Horizon’ by James Hilton which used the same artwork.  I need to go through the folders again as I seem to remember there may be some sketches of the girl and the man as well.

I wish someone could explain what is going on with the post not only here in the UK but also from Canada and the States? (Australia and NZ seem fine and very quick at the moment, I hope I’ve not spoken too soon!) It’s the inconsitency of delivery times that I don’t get. I’m trying to collect together a set of books from a particular publisher with a PAN connection based in Canada. I started back in February and am still waiting for some to arrive whereas others ordered at the beginning of June have. So far it seems to be 11 days as the quickest and 5 months and no sign……! I have contacted sellers for tracking information to be told there have been problems but give it time. It seems to be sellers that use bulk shipping as opposed to standard mail that  are the ones still outstanding. Is it really all COVID related as that seems to be reason given most often?
While I’m still moaning what is wrong with ‘Raspberry Reich’ by Wolf Mankowitz, is it cursed? I had to order it four times from four sellers before I managed to get a copy. The others never arrived and one of sellers was supposed to have sent a replacement so does that actually make it five? I just wanted to check if the cover and back matched up but not quite presumably due to trimming.

Georgette Heyer, ‘Suoerstore’ and Michael Sadlier

PAN publishedThe Private World of Georgette Heyer’ by Jane Aitkin Hodge in 1985. Of course the first thing I did when I got a copy was go to the index to see if PAN got a mention and it did. It was not too favourable at first but she was glad to find they listened to her apparently. Good to see Penguin doesn’t get off lightly for ‘False Colours’

The eight titles published by PAN mentioned are G570 ‘The Corinthian’, X39 Regency Buck’, X64 ‘The Grand Sophy’, X70 ‘Friday’s Child’, X88 An Infamous Army’, X108 ‘The Reluctant Widow’, X119 ‘These Old Shades’, X151 ‘The Conqueror’. Now to try and worked out which two are quite attractive, one very good, those poor but no problem as to which was ghastly apparently! PAN had published some titles previously but no mention of their covers, maybe I’ll include those in a later blog.

Fellow PAN Fan Jules Burt kindly contacted to ask if I had seen ‘Superstore’, season 3, episode 8 where employee Garrett McNeil, played by Colton Dunn, wears a tee shirt with a familiar image. The answer was ‘No’ but I’ve now added it to the ‘PAN As Seen On The Television’ page and to ‘checkout’ the real cover click HERE. If you’ve not see Jules’ videos you’ve missing a treat and one of his latest is looking at ‘PAN Giants Numbered X500 to X675’ If you watch the video you’ll see Jules pondering over the name of the cover artist for X509The Wrong Box’ spoiler alert, it’s Glenn Steward.

Still matching Hans Helweg sketches to go with covers and this week it’s two by Michael Sadlier namely M99 ‘Forlorn Sunset’ and M100 ‘Fanny by Gaslight’ Sadlier was born on the 25th December 1888 and died on the 13th December 1957.

STOP PRESS Just heard on the news that Ned Thomas Beatty, born 6th July 1937, died yesterday at the age of 83.  He was in ‘Deliverance’ which I mentioned back in March. Looking for a still to check who he played it was interesting to note that he seems to have been cropped from the film tie-in cover, maybe because of that hat!

Canadian ‘Herriots’, Peter Mayle and ‘Owls in the Family’ update.

Back in 2019 I mentioned I had got a set of six James Herriot titles in a slip case from Canada. The interesting part was that they were still sealed in the plastic wrapper and I was debating whether or not to open them. Well I haven’t but luckily I spotted a similar set on eBay being sold by The Air Ambulance in this country. When they arrived I was really pleased to see they were all Canadian printings plus, and this is a rare occurrence, the edges of all volumes were green. Now there is much specualtion as to why this was done but no definitive answer but maybe it does make the cheap paper look more expensive especillaly when it starts to go brown as is suggested most often. I’ve added an update to the page so you’ll need to scoll to the bottom which can be found by clicking HERE

Peter Mayle, who was born on the 14th June 1939 and died on the 18th January 2018, was awarded a ‘Golden PAN’ (or ‘Golden PEN’ as the label on the back says!) in 1993 for selling a million copies of ‘A Year in Provence’ I have a photo of him receiving the award and have added it to the ‘Golden Pan Awards’ page. Mayle is also well know for the series oublished by PAN Wicked Willie’ a humorous British cartoon character personified as a talking penis. He first appeared in the book Man’s Best Friend’, published in 1984. 

After deciding not to pay the asking price for a first edition of ‘Owls in the Family’ by Farley Mowat with cover by Hans Helweg on eBay in Australia I then bought several for a penny off Amazon and as luck would have it one was actually a first.