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

Hans Heinrich Helweg

Having mentioned prolific book cover artist Hans Helweg several times I am now pleased to be able to tell something of his life and to include as many examples of his art as I can.

I am currently working my way through a list and re-scanning the many PAN covers listed by Hans with date and how much he was paid plus it includes a few titles that aren’t PAN. So far I have managed to track down one as a Panther and one as an illustration in the magazine John Bull. Looking forward to finding more. I am also scanning the dozens of printer’s proofs that Sue lent me so I can get them back into her safe keeping as soon as possible.

Probably the character most associated with Hans ‘Olga Da Polga’

Click HERE to read what I have included so far, I especially like the story of his early film appearance. Don’t miss the links at the bottom to see many examples of Hans work in all fields.

Happy Birthday Emily, H.H. update, ‘Totem’ and a new business card!

Tomorrow, July 30th, will be Emily Bronte’s 201st Birthday. All though she wasn’t a prolific writer at least PAN published one of her novels in several editions. Click HERE or HERE to see them. Here is an appropriate joke from the latest ‘Private Eye’ magazine.

This week has been mainly taken up with re-scanning book covers by Hans Helweg. As he did over 250 this will be a long term project. I’ve put together a page from my notes when we met Hans’ widow Sue and sent the URL to her. She was very happy with it, just a couple of tweaks and confirmations on details needed. It’s now back with her and waiting approval to launch it upon the world.

I spotted the above poster for ‘The Totem’ someone had posted on a Twitter feed and of course couldn’t help but spot the PAN logo, looks like another item to add to the ‘Wanted’ list. The book cover is another from George Sharp who says it’s modelled on himself.

For a long time my cheap and cheerful business cards have said the site celebrates 25 years of PAN Books when now that has been extended to 45+ years plus a newer tag line. You know sometimes an offer comes through that seems just too good to miss? Well this was that time and I’ve now got 1,000 cards for not much more than the price of 100. Gone for the minimalist look but double sided and this time no advert for Vistaprint on the back!

Candy Barr plus a couple of updates.

It has been interesting researching Candy Barr as I don’t think the three titles published by PAN are by the same lady who crops up when you Google the name (see above). I had to tell the wife it was for research purposes – honestly! Then I found a Google snippet that speculated it was Caroline Bridgwood but again no definitive proof until I actually read the printing history inside the book where it says ©Caroline Bridgwood! Click HERE to see the three covers.

A while ago I put on several versions of the Colleen McCullough title ‘Tim’ but annoyingly one was a very bad image from the net. I have now got a copy to scan and have added it to the page. It the really boring one with just the word ‘Tim’ on a white background.

I have also got a couple of omnibus editions of ‘The Herries Chronicle  by Hugh Walpole in that uses the same photographs as the individual titles.

Hans Heinrich Helweg

As I mentioned last week I had a visit planned for the Monday and I’m pleased to say it came to fruition. We travelled down to Hay-on-Wye on the Sunday in the camper and parked up at a lovely site just five minutes walk from the centre of Hay. Although it was Sunday the majority of the bookshops were open (unlike places to eat!) I was prepared to be disappointed and so I was not disappointed when I was if that makes sense? Several shops I remembered had gone, a lot are selling remaindered stock and a few actually have vintage paperbacks. I was really pleased, in the Cinema Bookshop, to pick up five Mazo de la Roche titles that look as though they have never been read. They were £3 each which was about three times what I like to pay but as they were so good even my wife told me to go ahead and buy them.

Monday’s visit was to meet up with Sue, widow of artist Hans Helweg, at her fantastically located mill cottage. She was really welcoming and still has a lot of pieces relating to Hans kept in his studio the roof of which can just be seen behind the section with the wooden conservatory. There is a bridge over the brook and the foreground is in Wales and the cottage in England.

Sue was interested to see the two Mazo de la Roche covers that Hans had painted as she’d not see them before (‘Whiteoaks’ and ‘Finch’s Fortune’) We found ‘Whiteoaks’ in the ledger Hans kept and it looks like he got paid £42 for it.

She also had hundreds of printers proofs of covers which show that Hans painted over 250 for PAN many of which I didn’t know were his. She has also lent me notes on Hans life and I’ll put together a section for him including some of that material.

Finally, and not Hans related, but strangely linked I received a comment from Kathy, Sam Peffer’s neice who had just noticed back in 2014 I mentioned after a computer crash I had lost her contact details. We have now remade contact and I’ll be arranging a visit to see her very soon.

An Australian Printings Trio of Mann, Barrett and Hall.

This week there are three links to authors whose books were printed in Australia although not all Australians. I’ve added only the Australian printings to their pages and which feature the PAN Man logo (except one from Richard Hall added just for completeness)

Paul Mann grew up in Northumberland in the 1950’s and became a journalist travelling the world. He now resides in the USA. 

Robert Barrett was an Australian and published several titles featuring his detective ‘Les Norton’

Richard Hall was also a winter and journalist travelling extensively.

The above is just because I found it on the shelf and is an Australian printing!

Short and sweet this week as travelling around in the camper but hopefully interesting news next week if a planned visit comes about.

From the archives, a signed ‘Borribles’ and the flag.

When we were down in the PAN archives I snapped away at different bits and pieces and here is one of them. A poster to announce an event for the launch of the three new look logos.

I’ve been trying to get a 1989 copy of ‘The Borribles’ (as above) for quite a while so when I saw one listed as 1989 (unfortunately no photo and a seller who always says they have too much stock to check a cover!) I went ahead and ordered it. When it arrived I was really annoyed to find it was the 1983 edition but then I opened it.

Not quite as annoyed now and not bad for a penny plus postage. The seller must have missed it as they never mentioned it. Maybe that is an advantage of buying from a bulk seller, ‘stack ’em high and sell ’em cheap’
Apparently the Bridge Lane Theatre was in Battersea and was demolished in 1994 to be replaced by houses.

When Alysoun, from the PAN Archives, called in to see Gordon Young to record his memories of his time on the Laloun he gave her the actually flag that flew from the mast over 70 years ago. It is now in the Archives and I took a photo of it.

Adam Kay, Tales of Mystery x 4 and ‘The Stone of Chastity’

Back in January I mentioned how I was contacted by James Seabright, who organises Adam Kay’s tours, to tell me Adam had been awarded a Golden PAN and did I want a couple of tickets for a show?  We plumped for Dudley and went last Friday. I was impressed when I went to the box office to pick up the tickets that they were there all by themselves taking pride of place on the shelf. We had a very enjoyable evening, I think Jackie had the advantage in not having read the book, so didn’t know some of the anecdotes. I took my copy of Adam’s book for him to sign and I congratulated him on his award and to my amazement ‘he said he had looked at my site. Unfortunately there was a long queue so we didn’t have time to talk further. I did get a couple of photos which I’ve added to the page so if you scroll down you’ll find the updates HERE

A while ago, on a Facebook group for vintage paperback collectors, someone mentioned G321 Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Alan Poe and that there were several variations. I had two but this made me look again and I have since found four. Does anyone know if there were any more?

Not quite PAN but I’m always amused by the variety of covers from different publishers for the same title especially for ‘The Stone of Chastity‘ by Margery Sharp. I was particularly taken with the Avon edition which is certainly a little more eye catching that the PAN edition. I’ve put four variations on a page HERE just for interest.

Finally nothing to do with PAN but we have just got £14,000 to repair a bridge and build steps and a cycle channel up to the disused railway track we are making into a Greenway plus we have Gwyneth McMinn, Head of Network Development at SUSTRANS, coming on Thursday to see what we’ve been up to. Maybe we can convince her that this does need to be made in an official cycle track.

The Borribles, ‘D for Deadlock’ and one I missed.

A trio of books I’ve been meaning to read for quite a while are ‘The Borribles’ by Michael De Larrabeiti‎. As I’ve mentioned before I was lucky enough to be able to buy the original artwork for the front and back artwork of two of the three titles from Terry Oakes, the artist. 

I hadn’t realised that the first two tiltes were intially published as hardback by Collins but after the riots in London in 1985 they declined the third title and so it was left to PAN to publish it as a Piccolo. They published ‘The Borribles’ as a Piper in 1989 and I’m still trying to get a copy of my own, anyone got a spare?

I recently came across the three titles in German with artwork that looked familiar. It was a selection of parts from the cover of  ‘The Borribles: Across the Dark Metropolis’ I’ve put the all the covers scans on the page but here is number 1 plus the same title in a French edition as I like the translated title but I’m wondering why it’s  ‘Zorribles’ and not ‘Borribles’ as it doesn’t seem to mean anything else in French?

I’ve contacted Terry Oakes to ask if he knew they had done this to his artwork but as he doesn’t do email I’ve resorted to sending paper.

I’m still trying to get all the Sue Grafton ‘Alphabet’ novels with covers by Tom Adams. I think I’m three short and when I saw them listed the description sounded right but no photograph! I went ahead and ordered them and as usual I ended up disappointed as only ‘D for Deadbeat’ had the cover I was after. It might be  ‘F for Fugitive’ but that’s not the word I’m currently think of!

Grafton said that the series would end with “Z” Is for Zero, but she died before she could begin writing it. Her daughter said Grafton would never allow a ghostwriter to write in her name and “as far as we in the family are concerned, the alphabet now ends at Y.

One event I missed was the 126th anniversary of the birth of  Dorothy Leigh Sayers on the 13th June. I didn’t think PAN published any of her work until I had a better look and found two of her short stories in ‘A Book of Strange Stories’ and ‘Stories Not for the Nervous Part 1’  ‘Strange Stories’ has ‘The Cyprina Cat’ and the Hitchcock has ”The Man with Copper Fingers’

Hitch-Hikers Guide, Ashley Carter and a nice buy.

For quite a while I’ve been trying to track down a true 1st of ‘The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy’ which is identified by a name on page 53 where it talks about Vogan poetry. Paul Neil Milne Johnstone was a real poet who had attended Brentwood School with Douglas Adams and the two jointly received a prize for English. Later both went on to study at the University of Cambridge. Johnstone’s name was used by Adams as the author of the worst poetry in the universe in a true 1st /1st printing of the book but this was changed to Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings for all subsequent versions of Hitchhiker’s after Johnstone objected. He didn’t object to the description of his poetry but to the inclusion of his address. To see the relevant sections click HERE After asking many sellers the question “What name is on page 53?” at last the right answer came back from Ireland and now a copy has joined my collection.

Harry Wittington, author of over 85 novels under 17 different names died on the 11th June 1989. He wrote eight ‘slave’ titles published by PAN using the name Ashley Carter. Most of them are continuations of the ‘Falconhurst’ or ‘Blackoaks’ series but not all. Click HERE to se the covers.

…. and finally a great find on eBay and luckily the seller offered ‘Buy It Now’ It is made of card, measures about 12″ by 8″ and the frame is on order! It was £6:00 and included postage which was nearly £3:00 plus the cost of the excellent packing made it a real bargain.

As PAN changed the logo from round to rectangular in 1957 this must be about 62 years old.

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.