The Spider and the Fly

- A Writer, a Murderer, and a Story of Obsession


The Spider and the Fly
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Winner of the Washington State Book Award for Memoir

"Extraordinarily suspenseful and truly gut-wrenching. . . . A must-read."--Gillian Flynn, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Gone Girl

In this superb work of literary true crime--a spellbinding combination of memoir and psychological suspense--a female journalist chronicles her unusual connection with a convicted serial killer and her search to understand the darkness inside us.

"Well, well, Claudia. Can I call you Claudia? I'll have to give it to you, when confronted at least you're honest, as honest as any reporter. . . . You want to go into the depths of my mind and into my past. I want a peek into yours. It is only fair, isn't it?"--Kendall Francois

In September 1998, young reporter Claudia Rowe was working as a stringer for the New York Times in Poughkeepsie, New York, when local police discovered the bodies of eight women stashed in the attic and basement of the small colonial home that Kendall Francois, a painfully polite twenty-seven-year-old community college student, shared with his parents and sister.

Growing up amid the safe, bourgeois affluence of New York City, Rowe had always been secretly fascinated by the darkness, and soon became obsessed with the story and with Francois. She was consumed with the desire to understand just how a man could abduct and strangle eight women--and how a family could live for two years, seemingly unaware, in a house with the victims' rotting corpses. She also hoped to uncover what humanity, if any, a murderer could maintain in the wake of such monstrous evil.

Reaching out after Francois was arrested, Rowe and the serial killer began a dizzying four-year conversation about cruelty, compassion, and control; an unusual and provocative relationship that would eventually lead her to the abyss, forcing her to clearly see herself and her own past--and why she was drawn to danger.

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217 g
16 mm
133 mm
203 mm
Bibliotekernes beskrivelse

Poughkeepsie, New York, 1998. Eight women had gone missing in this small, sleepy upstate city. The police had a number of leads, including Kendall Francois, a large, awkward African American man repeatedly reported for attacking women whom he paid for sex. But Francois fit few of the familiar serial killer stereotypes, and detectives had largely written him off. Then Francois asked to speak with a prosecutor. Poring over photographs of numerous women, the soft-spoken man confessed that he killed several and stashed them at home--in the house he shared with his mother, father, and teenage sister.

Claudia Rowe, a young reporter, had heard chatter about the missing women. How could this local man have committed such brazen crimes? Even more perplexing, how could a family live seemingly unaware of rotting corpses in their home? Rowe embarked on a desperate search for answers. Over five years and through a series of letters, phone calls, and visits that consumed her life, she engaged with a killer in a dizzying conversation about cruelty, compassion, and control, digging down to the roots of her own obsessive need to understand evil.

A search to explain the darkest parts of human nature, The Spider and the Fly is an electrifying dissection of class, race, and crime that chills to the bone.

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