Jay Robert Nash. The Dark Fountain: A Novel of Horror (1982) 298 pp.
A fictional account of the life and career of Earle Leonard Nelson, the first serial sex killer of the 20th century, responsible for murdering over twenty women. In 1919, Nelson meets, courts, and marries Gloria Stearn, a beautiful, young music teacher, in San Francisco. Although proper, respectful, and generous during their courtship, after the wedding Nelson (who calls himself Roger Wilson with Gloria) turns violent, brutally raping and torturing Gloria for several days. Gloria manages to escape and moves to Portland. Nelson, meanwhile turns his attention to a successive string of landladies, first in San Francisco, then in Santa Barbara. His routine is to rent a room, strangle the landlady, and then rape the corpse, all the while quoting Biblical scripture. Detective Sergeant John Davis of the San Francisco Police Department is assigned to the case and ends up becoming obsessed with catching the killer, whom the press start calling “The Gorilla Murderer” and “The Dark Strangler.” Nelson continually eludes capture by striking quickly, never staying long in the same place, and being extremely talented in his methods of escape (he had even escaped from San Quentin earlier in his life). Using a combination of luck, deductive reasoning, new scientific methods of policing, and assistance from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Davis finally runs Nelson to ground in Winnipeg, Canada, takes him into custody, and witnesses his execution by hanging on January 13, 1928.
Setting: San Francisco; Winnipeg, Canada
Earle Leonard Nelson on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earle_Nelson