The idea captured in this cover reflects the themes and motifs featured in hard-boiled crime fiction, particularly that of the femme fatale. The imagery of the lips with the city sitting inside echoes the elements of the female characters within the novel. The shades of dark red represents the murderess undertones of some of the women featured throughout the story and also the sexuality of the female, which she uses for her own personal gain. With the city inside the lips, the power and control of the femme fatale (who in this case are the Sternwood sisters) is captured as she is a temptress who causes devastation. The aim of this cover is to allure the consumer with the subtle sexual imagery of the lips but this attraction is juxtaposed with the darkness, which adds a sinister undertone to that which is aesthetically pleasing. This is much like how the women work in the story as they use their sexuality to bring about destruction.