Countess Marie Tarnovsky was a woman accused of being an accomplice to murder. The prosecution claimed that she used her charms to convince a man named Nikolas Naumoff, who was in love with her, to kill her husband.
This article describes the enchanting affect the Countess had on everyone in the courtroom. But another article published in the Magazine a few weeks earlier gives a fuller account of the murder. It describes the Countess as “barely 30 years of age, of a majestic yet supple figure, rising to nearly five feet nine, with a Grecian bust and neck… a voluptuous, insinuating mouth — and all crowned by a wealth of brownish black hair that gleams golden-bronze in the sunlight.”
Apparently this wasn’t the first time one of the Countess’ lovers killed another, and the prosecution tried to establish a pattern to suggest that she’d done this before. I looked up the verdict. She was found guilty, and sentenced to eight years prison. She was pardoned after five years.
I can’t help but think there’s a movie there waiting to be written. Or at least a Law & Order episode.
“ENCHANTRESS” BEWITCHES ALL AT MURDER TRIAL: Even the Judge Is Not Proof Against the Fascinations of the Countess Tarnovsky in Venice’s Sensational Case (PDF)
From April 3, 1910