The 1933 killing by the Papin sisters of their mistress and her daughter was an act of unexampled violence by women against women, whose repercussions have been felt in French culture ever since. It received wide journalistic coverage at the time, and subsequently prominent literary figuressuch as Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean Genet have dealt with the case, which has also formed the basis of a stage play (by Wendy Kesselmann) and films by Nico Papatakis, Nancy Meckler and Claude Chabrol. The case casts fascinating light on French provincial life between the wars, therole of women (especially unmarried ones) in French society, and French views of the criminal outsider. Its impact on psychoanalytic discourse, through the work first of Jacques Lacan, then of Francis Dupre and Marie-Magdeleine Lessana, has also been considerable, notably in its contribution to thedevelopment of the key notion of the mirror-phase. The almost obsessive recurrence of the case makes of it a fascinating prism through which to examine multiple aspects of recent French culture.