The most bizarre character in the chapter of Black Widows is Bucharest's Vera Renczi. She differs from most Black Widows because her motive was jealousy, not profit. Her obsession was not her men's money, but their devotion. This Hungarian beauty had many suitors and trusted not one of them. Before she was apprehended, Vera had killed two husbands, a son and an estimated thirty-two lovers. Born in 1903, she was the product of a fading aristocratic family. Her inability as a young woman to maintain a male/female relationship was blamed on a spoiled-rich-girl attitude; her friends said that the moment she was not the center of her boyfriend's attention, she would flee. The roots of her problem went much deeper, though, and drilled into a firmly-implanted belief that she could not trust men. Her low self-esteem became dangerous, however, as she grew into adulthood. If she suspected her man was eyeing another woman, she no longer merely dropped him but dropped him dead. Her first marriage to an older man was a disaster. She pathologically suspected him of cheating. Left at home daily with their one child, a son, she pictured her mate not at work where he was supposed to be, but in the arms of one of his co-workers or with whomever he chanced upon; her suspicions were invalid, impractical and unfounded, but to her, frighteningly real. So that he could no longer look at another woman, she tinctured his wine with arsenic one evening and disposed of his body. No doubt, she conjured up tears to tell family and friends that he had run off. And she wept in front of them a second time several years later when yet another husband disappeared. She had poisoned him, also, convinced of his disloyalty to her. The one reasonable choice Madame Renczi made in her life was to never marry again. But, if that decision was erstwhile, it came to no avail as she continued to carry on relationships, one after another, slaying each "wandering" Lothario after a matter of a few weeks or months -- sometimes days. Her men were rich and poor and tall and squat and handsome and homely; they were cheerful and silent and boisterous and shy. Chances are, many of them were truly in love with her, but she saw in them an infidelity nevertheless. The empty affection she observed was, though she didn't realize it, actually a self-mirrored image. At one point in her wayward career, her son Lorenzo, who had grown into manhood, stumbled upon the truth of Mama's pastime. He tried to blackmail her, but learned the hard way that one doesn't shove a poisoner against the wall. Lorenzo went au revoir. Because several of Vera's male friends had been married and had to conduct their liaisons with her with some adroitness a fact which may have added to her skepticism of male consistency oftentimes the wives became suspicious. It was a scorned wife who brought about the Black Widow's ultimate undoing. The lady had traced her husband to Vera's doorstep one evening and, after he failed to emerge the following sunrise, and after Vera denied having known the man, she called the gendarme. The police conducted a routine search of the Renczi residence and found more than a missing husband. In her wine cellar, they came upon a tableaux right out of an Edgar Allan Poe tale: thirty-two male cadavers, each preserved in his own customized coffin. Vera, who was usually a fast talker, couldn't find the words to explain how they happened to be there resting in peace. She spent the remainder of her natural life in prison, perhaps wondering why she hadn't just buried them. After all, a shovel would have cost her much less.