Tag Archives: Femme Fatale

Almanac – April 18

1480 – Lucrezia Borgia born. Daughter of Pope Alexander VI, and Vannozza dei Cattanei. Her brothers included Cesare Borgia, Giovanni Borgia, and Gioffre Borgia.

Lucrezia’s family later came to epitomize the ruthless Machiavellian politics and sexual corruption alleged to be characteristic of the Renaissance Papacy, and  Lucrezia was cast as a femme fatale, a role she has been portrayed as in many artworks, novels, and films.

Very little is known of Lucrezia, and the extent of her complicity in the political machinations of her father and brothers is unclear, although they certainly arranged several marriages for her to important or powerful men in order to advance their own political ambitions.



1552 – John Leland died. English poet and antiquary.

Leland has been described as “the father of English local history and bibliography”.  His Itinerary provided a unique source of observations and raw materials for many subsequent antiquaries, and introduced the county as the basic unit for studying the local history of England, an idea that has been influential ever since.



1930 – BBC Radio announced   “There is no news”.



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MATA HARI – Femme Fatale



As today is the 95th anniversary of the execution of  Mata Hari, today’s  offering from our bookstore is –





AUTHOR-           Pat Shipman

    Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London. 2007

FORMAT–           Hb, 450pp, illustrated, refs, notes, index

    Used…ex-library stock, so expect library stamps/marks/stickers.

                                    Dust-jacket, slight wear.
                                    Book in good, sound & clean condition


Mata Hari was  the prototype of the beautiful but unscrupulous female agent who uses sexual allure to gain access to secrets, if she was indeed a spy.

In 1917, the notorious dancer Mata Hari was arrested, tried, and executed for espionage. It was charged at her trial that the dark-eyed siren was responsible for the deaths of at least 50,000 gallant French soldiers.

Irrefutably, she had been the mistress of many senior Allied officers and government officials, even the French Minister of War: a point viewed as highly suspicious. Worse yet, she spoke several European languages fluently and travelled widely in wartime Europe. But was she guilty of espionage ?

For all the publicity Mata Hari and her trial received, key questions remain unanswered. These questions concern not only her inadequate trial and her unproven guilt, but also the events in her personal life.

What propelled Margaretha Zelle, destined to be a Dutch schoolteacher, to transform herself into Mata Hari, the most desirable woman in early 20th-century Paris ?

She danced before enthusiastic crowds in Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Madrid, Monte Carlo, Milan and Rome, inspiring admiration, jealousy, and bitter condemnation.

This biography pinpoints the powerful yet dangerous attributes that evoked such strong emotions in those who met Mata Hari. Hitherto the focus has been on espionage. This is the first account to explore the events that shaped her life and caused the transformation from rural Dutch girl to international femme fatale.

This book is available (1 copy only) from Wolfs head bookstore for just 1.50 GBP plus P&P in the UK. More details and price convertor for customers outside the UK at this link –

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