It was in July 1895, that Mata Hari, the beautiful Dutch spy married her husband, Rudolf, in Amsterdam. The marriage was not to last and Mata- real name Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, fled to a new and hedonistic lifestyle that was to embrace love, lies and secrets for which she would eventually die. I’ve taken a special interest in this amazing lady. It is said that she died without a blindfold, dressed immaculately in her famous ankle boots, stockings, curvaceous suit and low cut blouse, despite the fact she had been incarcerated in a filthy cell in the Prison de Saint-Lazare. She faced the firing squad without flinching. During her short life she wa promiscuous, flirtatious, and openly flaunted her body. Mata Hari captivated her audiences and was an overnight success at the debut of her act in Paris, 1905. She became the mistress of a millionaire and posed as a princess, pretending to have been versed in the art of sacred Indian dance and had been photographed nude or nearly so. Her act was spectacularly successful and embodied a sensuality for which she was to become world famous. However, her affairs with powerful and dangerous men took her across international borders in times of great unrest. It was this twist of fate that caused her to be dubbed as a spy and used as a scapegoat by the French military for their mistakes. Her trial and death sentence followed. The myths continue to this day of her life, work and intrigues. This observation from British reporter Henry Wales, at her execution. “Slowly, inertly, she settled to her knees, her head up always, and without the slightest change of expression on her face. For the fraction of a second it seemed she tottered there, on her knees, gazing directly at those who had taken her life. Then she fell backward, bending at the waist, with her legs doubled up beneath her…” As befits any goddess or legend, Mata Hari’s life is the stuff of fiction, yet in reality she was courageous enough to live up to her reputation and was truly a stunningly sensuous woman – and my heroine for July.