The Spider and the Fly
A Writer, a Murderer and a Story of Obsession
This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.
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.
From Publishers Weekly
© Publishers Weekly
A Mixed Review
The "Spider and the Fly" is marketed as a true crime genre. I think Claudia Rowe is an excellent writer and I mostly enjoyed reading this story. But, and there always seems to be a but, I was left somewhat disappointed. I had read other reviews and many of them spoke about the fact that this was more about the author’s life than Kendall --- the murderer. Everytime the author turned her attention to the crime and the victims, I thought OK now we're going to find out what really happened. But Ms. Rowe seemed to lose focus and it became more about her and her life’s story.I would have preferred more about the crime, the victims, and the murderer than a book that weaved the author’s life and relationship with the murderer into the story of the crime.