On the evening of September 29, 1929 in Kansas City, Missouri, Myrtle Bennett shot her bridge partner husband, John, after he was unable to bring home a makable four spade contract. She called him a ‘bum bridge player’ and he slapped her several times and overturned the bridge table. The couple they were playing against left immediately and did not hear the gun shots.
Myrtle Bennett was acquitted of first degree murder after an eleven day trial in 1932. The jury concluded that the murder was accidental, despite four shots being fired. The assistant prosecutor in commenting on the verdict said, "It must be open season on husbands."
Mrs. Bennett received $30,000 from her husband’s life insurance policy; not an insignificant sum during the Great Depression.
In 1934, Alexander Woollcott, a New York columnist, wrote the following in his essay collection, As Rome Burned, "… Myrtle Bennett has not allowed her bridge to grow rusty, even though she occasionally encountered an explicable difficulty in finding a partner. Recently, she took on one unacquainted with her history. Having made an impulsive bid, her male partner put down a hand with some diffidence. He said, partner, I’m afraid you’ll want to shoot me for this. Mrs. Bennett, says my informant, had the good taste to faint."
I have played competitive bridge for over 30 years and have witnessed many rude gestures and tongue-lashings at the table, but no murders, yet.