“The whole pathway of my life is strewn with the bodies of those who have loved me most”
Born in Russia in 1879, Marie Tarnowska attended a school in Kiev for the children of the nobility. At 13 she realized that she could use her beauty to manipulate men and three years later married Count Tarnowski and gave birth to three children. They became avid socialites but the count had a wandering eye so in revenge she slept with his brother. When she broke off the fling with the brother, he killed himself. Not long after, another lover killed himself when Tarnowska finished with him and took up with Alexis Bozevski of the Imperial Guard. He was violent and Tarnowska decided to get rid if him.
She invited him into her boudoir, knowing her husband was due to return any moment. When the count entered, Tarnowska began grappling with her lover and her husband assumed that his wife was being raped. He shot Bozevski who died not long after. In May 1903 Tarnowska hired a lawyer named Maximillian Prulikov and paid his fees in bed to arrange for her husband to be sent to Siberia. He failed and the count learned the truth about the “rape”. He left his wife penniless. She persuaded Prulikov to leave his wife and children and travel around Europe with her, at his expense, naturally. When they returned to Russia she took the older and wealthy Count Paul Kamarovsky to her bed. The count told his new mistress that one of his friends Dr Nicholas Naumov was a misogynist. Marie Tarnowska was intrigued and began overtures towards the doctor that were so successful that he shot his own hand and allowed her to tattoo him with a dagger. She also enjoyed burning him with cigarettes during sex.
Fickle as ever, she decided that she wanted to be rid of both Count Paul Kamarovsky and Nicholas Naumov. She asked Naumov and the faithful lawyer Prulikov to kill Kamarovsky. She also arranged for Kamarovsky to take out a life insurance policy for £20,000 in which she was the sole beneficiary. She told Prulikov to wait with the police to arrest Naumov after the murder and ensured Naumov went through with it by having rampant sex with him just before. In Venice on 3 September 1907 Naumov shot Kamarovsky and then was arrested by the police and Prulikov as planned.
Lido, Venice, Italy
Tuesday 3 September 1907
Tarnowksa’s part in the conspiracy was soon revealed and she was arrested. Her trial began on 4 March 1910 and she was jailed for eight years, Prulikov for ten and Naumov just three. Tarnowska served two years before being freed in August 1912 through ill-health caused by the cocaine habit she acquired through a lover before the murder. She died in 1923.
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Marie Tarnowska said “I am the most unfortunate woman in the world. I am a martyr to my own beauty. For any man to behold me is for him to love me. The whole pathway of my life is strewn with the bodies of those who have loved me most.”