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Jumelia. Jumelia was created by the Indian author Panchkori Dey (Arindam Bosu, Gobindoram, Debendra Bijoy Mitra) and appeared in Manorama (1899), Mayabi (1902), and Mayabini (1928).

Jumelia is a Superhuman Femme Fatale. Jumelia is the crafty, vicious partner of Phulbabu, a criminal mastermind, and with him carries out a series of murders and dismemberments in Hooghly and Calcutta. In Mayabi Jumelia and Phulbabu take on Arindam Bosu. Phulbabu dies at the end of Mayabi, thanks to Bosu’s cleverness, and in Mayabini Jumelia duels with her Loving Enemy, Debendra Bijoy Mitra. Jumelia uses her yoga-given power to shapeshift and try to win the love of Mitra, or at least have sex with him, but Mitra refuses, being in love with his wife. Jumelia, understanding that she can’t win Mitra’s heart through force or threats, kills herself.

* I'm including the Jumelia novels in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because Jumelia was an archetype and because the novels are a good bit of fun, at least when Jumelia is on the page. There were a number of femmes fatale in Indian popular literature before and after Jumelia, certainly, but in many ways she's the iconic version of the Indian femme fatale, the ne plus ultra of the character type. She's smart, cunning, malicious and vicious; she's got the power of shapeshifting thanks to her practice of yoga; and she falls in love with the hero, is rejected, and dies (another aspect of the traditional Indian femme fatale). She's a summary of the femmes fatale that preceded her and an anticipation of the femmes fatale which would succeed her, and none of those femmes fatale quite reached her heights (and depths; she dismembers children, which is a special level of pulpy evil). The novels are...well...let's put it this way. All three novels are typical of their era in India in the characterization of the heroes and the narrative style. But when Jumelia is on the page things crackle with life; like so many of the great villains of the pulps of the world, she brings out the best in her writer and her enemy, and the reader gains immensely from it. 

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