French homicide, the killer of several lovers and
husbands, a nymphomaniac and drug addict. The daughter of a silk
merchant, Marie was convent educated. She went to work for her dad's
failing firm, traveling to Mexico in 1892. While there, she had
dramatic love affairs; one lover reportedly killed himself over her
rejection. At one time, a lover was found dead at her feat, allegedly
shot to death by bandits as she hysterically sobbed.
Marie met Paul Jacques in Mexico City. He was twice
her age and a wealthy silk merchant with a thriving business in Mexico
and Europe, servants and a lifestyle of ease. They married and moved
to Paris where their daughter Pauline was born in 1904. Marie formed a
salon, a literary circle where she could share her writings of
romantic stories and poetry. Under the nom de plume of Hera Myrtel,
she penned a romantic novel that had some success and she was
commissioned to publish more. She took many lovers, which her husband
meekly accepted as she bullied and dominated him for 20 years.
Her literary pretensions left Marie little time for
her husband and child, and she began to press him for a trip to
Mexico, where she felt that she would be acclaimed as an authoress. He
refused. One evening in January 1914, she ordered the maid to take a
tureen of soup to her husband, who was working late in his study. The
maid saw her slip a white powder in the soup and said to her master,
"I hope you like the flavoring that Madame put into your soup." Paul
did not eat the soup, but had a portion of it analyzed by a chemist;
it contained a lethal poison. Not wanting a scandal, he foolishly
considered that it was a temporary act of pique by his wife. He
admitted to friends that he "would never understand the dark corners
of her mind."
On the evening of 3/05/1914, the maid was summoned
to Marie's bedroom. Her husband, Paul, was dead, shot in the right
temple. It was declared to be a suicide.
In mourning, Marie made her long-wanted trip to
Mexico, taking Pauline with her. A rich dilettante once she liquidated
her husband's Mexican assets, she billed herself as a "mystical
novelist," establishing a salon peopled by sycophants. Soon she met a
mysterious, handsome man named Charles Bessarabo, a Rumanian of
dubious interests with a possible criminal background. He proposed
marriage to the aging and vain Marie. She promptly accepted, and the
couple returned to Paris in 1916. They moved into luxurious quarters
where Marie set up a new literary salon, inviting any males into
private conference whom she chose, driven by outstanding sexual
energy. For years she indulged in drugs, becoming particularly fond of
Once more, she dominated and cuckolded her husband.
If he put up any objection to her extravagance or sexual indulgence,
she turned on him in fury. Once in 1918, he awoke to find her on top
of him, wild-eyed, trying to choke him to death. He flung her off and
she wept, "I don't know what came over me."
On 7/08/1920, when Bessarabo arrived home for
dinner, he found her scantily clad and preparing for an "interview"
with a male writer. She grabbed a pistol and yelled at him to get out.
He dove for the floor as a bullet whistled over his head. Marie threw
down the gun and calmly went to her dinner. When Bessarabo told her he
could no longer tolerate their life together, she replied that if he
left, she would expose his shady business dealings.
On 7/31/1920, c. 8:00 PM, Marie shot Bessarabo to
death, put his body in a trunk and sent it to Nancy, France. When he
failed to show up at work, his chauffeur went to the police, relating
what he knew of his employer's marital problems. Marie insisted that
he had gone away to visit his (alleged) mistress and that he had taken
the large trunk.
The trunk was soon located and found to contain a
naked corpse, shot and with a battered head and face. Confronted with
the evidence, Marie promptly confessed to shooting Bessarabo, saying
that she had been jealous of his mistress. Their daughter had been
wakened by the shots and stood by her mother.
Both Marie and Pauline were place on trial for
murder on 2/15/1921. The trial was sensational. At one point, Pauline
leaped to her feet and screamed "I must and will tell the truth." She
laid the blame at her mother's feet as Marie shouted at her to shut
Pauline was set free but Marie was convicted of
murder and given 20 years prison, where she died.
Work : New Job 1892 (Moved to Mexico for dad's
Family : Change in family responsibilities 1904
(Daughter Pauline born)
Crime : Assault/ Battery Perpetration January 1914
(Attempted to poison first husband)
Death of Mate 5 March 1914 (Husband shot-killed,
listed as suicide, probable homicide)
Family : Change residence 1916 (Moved back to Paris
with second husband)
Crime : Assault/ Battery Perpetration 1918 (Tried
to strangle to death second husband)
Crime : Assault/ Battery Perpetration 8 July 1920
(Shot at husband, attempted to kill him)
Crime : Homicide Perpetration 31 July 1920 at 08:00
AM in Paris, France (Shot and killed Charles)
Crime : Trial dates 15 February 1921 (She and
daughter on trial for murder)