In September 1998, Claudia Rowe was a young reporter working as a stringer for the New York Times in Poughkeepsie, New York when local police, confounded by two years of missing-women reports, discovered eight decayed bodies stashed in the home where Kendall Francois lived with his mother, father and teenage sister.
The corpses were found only after Kendall, a polite twenty-seven-year-old, confessed while being booked for something far more routine. He fit few traditional descriptions of a serial murderer, and many in Poughkeepsie struggled to comprehend how this “gentle giant” could be responsible for such brutality.
Reaching out after Kendall’s arrest, Rowe began an intense four-year conversation with the killer through letters, phone calls and face-to-face meetings. Rowe writes about this in her new book, The Spider And The Fly: A Reporter, A Serial Killer, And The Meaning Of Murder.
Claudia Rowe is a staff writer at The Seattle Times and has twice been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.