Robert Maguire: Persuit of the Lurid

If one is a fan of the female form, hard boiled crime are a likely source of titilation. Cheesecake pin-ups usually depicts the sweetheart. Crime noir usually depicts the femme fatale, the bad girl who will do whatever she needs to in order to get what she wants. Lurid titles such as ‘I Prefer Girls’, ‘Man Bait’ and ‘Don’t Ever Love Me’. All highly enjoyable. Robert Maguire is the most prolific illustrator of hard boiled cover art.

Born on 5th August 1921, Maguire was inspired to pick up a pencil by his architect father. He started his education in art at Duke university in North Carolina. Interrupted by enlistment, he returned to his studies via the Arts Students League. Once Maguire graduated in 1949, he found work as an illustrator for Trojan Publications (including Hollywood Detective magazine). Throughout the 50’s-60’s, Maguire entered his golden years. His speciality was femme fatales; classic red lips, killer curves yet just enough danger to be truly fatale.

Virtual every mainstream publisher in New York worked with Maguire (600 covers plus, now that is a vast portfolio). His most famous cover was for ‘Black Opium’ (fourth picture down). His work with both detailed yet somehow dreamy, almost like you were viewing his art though a hallucination. Hyper unreality.

When Maguire passed away on 26th February 2005. He left behind a major and magnificent catalogue of art that will enthrall noir for years to come.

death-in-the-5th-position Robert maguire

robert maguire kiss me

dame damage


Robert Maguire black opium



blonde and red

pulp cover




  1. Ohhh- so dark and sinful….something interesting lurking between those book covers..

  2. I enjoy his work– nicely done!

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