Viviane Janouin-Benanti

Henri Pranzini

Version française

The Splendid Darling

This is the true story of the incredible lives of Henri Pranzini and Marie Regnault, also known as Régine de Montille

Régine de Montille was involved in some of the greatest moments in 19th-century French history.

During the reign of Napoléon III, she enthusiastically joined the cause of the Républicains who rallied against the empire at the burial of Victor Noir, a journalist killed by the emperor’s cousin. She fought against the royalist Versailles government and took part in the radical Paris Commune. When Issy-les-Moulineaux was bombarded, she took care of the wounded. During a brief stay in Bavaria, she dreamed of a romance with King Ludwig II. Famous men of the era were infatuated with her, but it all ended when she fell in love with Pranzini.

At the time of a stay in Bavaria, she will dream to be loved by king Louis II. Famous men will become infatuated with her, until she falls in love with Pranzini.

Henri Pranzini was born in Alexandria, Egypt. An exotic seducer with languorous eyes and a brilliant mind, he knew eight languages. He attended the inauguration of Suez Canal. An adventurer and soldier, he joined the British Army of India and fought in Afghanistan. For a time, he offered his services to the Russians, but then went to fight with the British in Sudan.

A man of action, a wheeler and dealer, an avid gambler, Pranzini crisscrossed continents always on the lookout for his next big score. This so-called “splendid darling” was also quite the lady’s man, breaking hearts right and left, until he went to Paris and met the rich and famous Régine de Montille.

This is when the murderer and the victim crossed paths, leading to an incredible criminal trial.

This heart-racing narrative, written in vivid prose, is a true thriller. The book culminates with a stunning account of the courtroom trial and its shocking conclusion.

St. Thérèse of Lisieux prayed for the salvation of Pranzini. The fulfillment of her prayers had a great influence on her faith and commitment. St. Thérèse said of Pranzini that he was her first child.

Impassioned by true stories, Viviane Janouin-Benanti breathes life into her narratives about real people living uncommon lives.