Title: The Temptress
Author: Carter Brown
Cover artist: Barye Phillips
Yours for: $8
Best things about this cover:
- That is some spectacular cleavage. The "the" looks like it wants to go hide in there.
- This "standing woman / dead man" cover is a type. I feel the need to go back and tag all the others "SWDM"—it says everything about the ambivalent erotics of vintage paperback cover art.
- That font is sassy. It doesn't scare me, though. Looks like the opening credits of a '60s sitcom.
Best things about this back cover:
- I'm confused by "just." It assumes a baseline opinion that "murder" is a pretty word. It's a horrendously ugly word.
- So Chandler writes "Trouble Is My Business" and then for decades other writers / copyeditors copy, parody, and generally dead-horse the hell out of that phrase.
- LOVE that we can see here what important cultural touchstones "Peyton Place" and "Lolita" were for the late '50s/early '60s world.
- "An August Signet Paper Edition"—"August" ... like, the adjective? That is unexpected. In fact, just plain weird. Also, likely, not true.
"Yeah," he nodded. "She had the pictures and we burned 'em. We didn't know there was more of them—figured they were the only ones he had!"
Incriminating photos / blackmail schemes are the topic of 59.8% of all hard-boiled stories. Give or take.
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