“A Femme Fatale, translating to “Deadly Woman” in french, is an alluring, seductive woman whose charms ensnare her lovers in bonds of irresistible desire. Often this leads them into compromising, dangerous, and deadly situations.” ~ Wikipedia
I first discovered this class of women from 1930s and 40s film noir several years ago and was seduced by their charm and cunning minds. I then began to see them popping up in novels I read, even my favorites like Gone with the Wind and Wuthering Heights. This new weekly post is to highlight/celebrate/condemn these sultry and conniving ladies in literature.
My first in this series is Rhoda Penmark, a Fatale in the making from William March’s novel The Bad Seed
Claude Daigle, an eight year old boy, son to surviving parents Dwight and Hortense Daigle. During the Fern Grammar School Picnic drowned in the near by river, falling off of the peer. Claude was a sweet boy who loved his parents dearly and had just recently won the school penmanship metal.
40 year old Leroy Jessup, had been a longtime employee of Monica Breedlove, doing handyman jobs at Miss Breedlove’s town apartments. Mr. Jessup died suddenly from an accidental fire in a bed of excelsior.
These deaths were not accidental but the calculated work of a child. Rhoda Penmark. This Femme Fatale is an eight year old who seems wise beyond her years and comes off as the the perfect child, always wearing dresses and her hair in pigtails. Children always know how to behave in public and so does Rhoda Penmark. Playing the smarmy, cutesy cutesy girl to a T, having everyone in her presence eating out of the palm of her hand. Everyone that is except her mother. Parents always know their children’s behavior problems right? Christine Penmark falls victim to this behavior making her crazed and irrational, slowly discovering her daughter’s true character, yet Rhoda’s evilness still conquers all.