The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson is a true story about the World's Fair in Chicago and the murders committed within its splendor. There are two main characters within the story. The first is Dainiel Burnham who was one of the main architects selected to design and construct the exhibits for the World's Fair. He had almost all the power over what designs were put into the fair. Mr. Burnham denied the design for the Farris Wheel three times before it was good enough to be approved. The second is Dr. Herman W. Mudgett alias H. H. Holmes. Holmes was a 'pharmacist' who later used his practice as a way to lure in young victims who he would use to his benefits then murder when they no longer had a use. It is said that he murdered up to 150 people or more. The story begins as a general description of all the hard work it took to begin building the World's Fair but quickly turns into much, much more. The book jumps back and forth between the stories of Mr. Burnham and H. H. Holmes, and it has a way of keeping you glued in for every new discovery. At first I didn't think this was going to be a very good book until I read the reviews on the back. They all describe the book as fascinating, a great read, and impossible to put down. After that I picked it up I couldn't stop reading it. Every thing inside this book is pure history, from the amazing qualities of the World's Fair to the horror of the murders hidden within it. H. H. Holmes used the fair as his hunting grounds to find young women, who he though of as easy pray. This book can get unpleasant at times because of the detail of some of the murders but is still extremely fascinating. I would suggest reading this book if you enjoy history and a great murder novel. It definitely keeps you locked in.
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
March 11, 2009