The Spider and the Fly: A Reporter, a Serial Killer, and the Meaning of Murder

By Claudia Rowe
Read by Cassandra Campbell

9.11 Hours 01/24/2017 unabridged
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“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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Summary

Summary

A Library Journal Audio-in-Advance Pick for January 2017

“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.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“An insightful investigation of the nature of evil, the fragility of good, and the crooked road that can turn human beings into monsters.” Gillian Flynn, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“Claudia Rowe catalogs her obsession with a serial killer so mesmerizingly that before I knew it, I too was obsessed…I literally could not put it down.” Alan Cumming, New York Times bestselling author
“Part psychological thriller and part gut-wrenching memoir, The Spider and the Fly crosses boundaries on nearly every page. It is chilling, self-revelatory, and unforgettable.” Robert Kolker, New York Times bestselling author
“With reporter-like descriptions of small town life and strong storytelling skills, Rowe…unflinchingly depicts her decades-long obsession with Kendall Francois, a convicted serial killer” Publishers Weekly
“The interwoven stories of author and subject will appeal to both true crime and memoir readers.” Library Journal
“Rowe’s engaging prose means the pages practically turn themselves.” Kirkus Reviews
“This is true-crime writing where the story bleeds from journalism into memoir, as the writer becomes a main character…Readers seeking a literary look at the psychology of a criminal will find much to hold them rapt.” Booklist

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Claudia Rowe

Claudia Rowe is a staff writer at the Seattle Times and has twice been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Her work has been published in numerous outlets, including the New York Times, Mother Jones, Huffington Post, Women’s Day, and Seattle’s alternative weekly, The Stranger. She has been honored by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, and was awarded the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction
Runtime: 9.11
Audience: Adult
Language: English