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Femme Fatale / Literature

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  • Rita, the sexy, deadly, devil-may-care manhunter from Put the Sepia On is named after legendary film femme fatale Rita Hayworth, and lives up to it.
  • In The Stainless Steel Rat action/comedy series by Harry Harrison, thief turned galactic secret agent 'Slippery Jim' DiGriz finds himself up against the psychotic (yet beautiful and criminally brilliant) Angelina. Jim falls in love and marries her in the next novel of the series. Supposedly, the psych-techs have straightened out Angelina's twisted personality, implanting her with a conscience, but there are times when her husband has to restrain Angelina's natural enthusiasm for torture and killing. Plus, Jim quickly learns the inadvisability of showing interest in other women or trying to wriggle out of promises (an attempt to back out of their marriage is stopped by Angelina shoving a .75 calibre recoil free pistol up his nose).
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Ghostmaker, Inquisitor Lilith actively tries to incite jealousy in Gaunt as a way to manipulate him. Gaunt calls her on it and tells her it's not needed, he will help voluntarily. She admits at the time that she's not used to voluntary cooperation and, later, when about to go through a gate to an Eldar craftworld, that she actually found Gaunt attractive.
  • Patience Kys in the Ravenor books by the same author is a heroic example; she is a somewhat hostile Ice Queen who tends to use her attractiveness to her advantage on covert operations.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Lara Raith. It helps that she's a Sex Goddess even by White Court vampire standards. It contrasts rather nicely to her cousin, Madeleine, who tries to pull this off, bless her sordid heart, but really just comes off as a Vamp.
    • The first time we see Mab, the Winter Queen, she is pulling the classic 'slinky sexpot asks the P.I. for help' routine in Harry's office. Harry gets suspicious and manages to figure out what Mab is (although a Cold Iron test is how he was certain). Although it is more surprising for him not to be suspicious of Femmes Fatales.
  • Senna Wales of Everworld, by a combination of physical attractiveness, emotional manipulation, and magic.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "The Devil in Iron", the slave Octavia is ordered to do this to lure Conan.
  • In Josepha Sherman's The Shining Falcon, Ljuba uses magic and sex to try to work herself into power.
  • Cora Smith in The Postman Always Rings Twice. She's married to an old Greek man named Nick who owns a diner. When Frank, a young drifter, gets a job at the diner, Cora starts a passionate affair with him, and together they conspire to kill Nick.
  • Homeland Security agent Cassandra Renaldo in the Dale Brown novel A Time for Patriots, who seduces Bradley to use against Pat.
  • In Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, Angel is a former prostitute who has no qualms about using her notoriously drop-dead gorgeous looks to get what she wants. Interestingly subverted in that because this is the only way she knows to get what she wants, itís a sign of immaturity and desperation rather than of self-confidence (and normal social skills) via The Power of Love.
  • Annabel St. Clair in the short story Amante Doree from Somewhere Beneath Those Waves — she's a beautiful, charming Louisianan courtesan-spy for the interests of the French government.
  • Subverted in Mr Blank: Our genre-savvy hero just knows Mina will betray him on account of her beauty, yet she turns out to be the most loyal ally he has. Once again subverted in the sequel, where we have Heather Marie Tooms, former movie star and current assassin for a self-help cult. While she tries to be flirty (and she's certainly attractive), she's far too creepy and unstable to be alluring.
  • Lampshaded in City of Devils when the hero remarks, upon entrance of the femme fatale, Oscar-winning doppelganger actress Imogen Verity, "not only had I seen the movie, but it had starred her."
  • Surprisingly averted in the "Damsels of Distress'' series of novellas. None of the members of the all-female mercenary gang are particularly apt at anything related to charming or seducing men. They are deadly, however.
  • The backstory of Harry Potter has Gellert Grindelwald, the greatest dark wizard before Voldemort, as a male example. By exploiting sexual attraction and feelings of love, Grindelwald temporarily indoctrinated Albus Dumbledore into his White Man's Burden-esque plan to conquer Muggles "for the greater good." However, like many female examples, Grindelwald wasn't purely evil, but instead misguided and capable of redemption. When Voldemort interrogated him about the Elder Wand, he refused to tell, presumably out of respect for the Wand's master — namely, Albus Dumbledore, Grindelwald's former target of seduction.
  • Lazlo Woodbine, a parody of the Hard Boiled Detective from the far-fetched fiction of Robert Rankin, invariably has a run-in with "the dame that done him wrong".
  • Gone Girlís Amy Elliott-Dunne uses her sex appeal to manipulate situations, befuddle men, and also kill them while they're distracted. She sets up her cheating husband to be falsely accused of her disappearance and possible murder, and even though she didnít go through with it in the end, she still managed to escape punishment.
  • Invoked in Shaman Blues with Konstancja, whose looks and behaviour quickly make Witkacy start to call her this way in his head. She's beautiful, with black hair and long legs, she's his ex and is troubled by a matter she can't take to the police.
  • Joe Pickett: Stella Ennis in Out of Range. A Trophy Wife who is a lot cannier than her husband thinks she is, Stella turns to Joe to protect her against her husband's schemes. But she is definitely keeping secrets of her own. Significantly, she is the only woman to ever make Joe question his faithfulness to his wife Marybeth.
  • The Scholomance: Liesel is probably the most sexualized of El's classmates and often gives cooing, insincere compliments to well-connected male enclavers and is an an Academic Alpha Bitch who menaces El a few times and flirts with her boyfriend. In one scene, El finds her dolling up for a date with the well-connected Magnus and gritting her teeth about it when he isn't there to see her. Ultimately though, she's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold at worst.
  • Milady de Winter from The Three Musketeers is one of the earliest examples. Her beauty and cunning turn many men to work for her, such is the case of how she escaped from her imprisonment, seducing her jailor, John Felton, to help her escape and convinced him to murder the Duke of Buckingham.
  • The title character of Max Beerbohm's Black Comedy Zuleika Dobson is so irresistible to young men that she drives the entire undergraduate class at Oxford to commit suicide. The novel ends with her preparing to do the same thing to Cambridge.
  • Another English femme fatale is Pamela Flitton in Anthony Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time, a beautiful but mean-spirited woman who likes to use her power over men to make them destroy themselves. One of the novels in the cycle, Books Do Furnish a Room, is mostly the story of how Pamela seduces a promising young writer, wrecks his self-esteem, destroys his manuscript, and leaves him unable to write again until his early death. One of her last conquests literally dies while in bed with her.[[/folder]]