THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY

Author: Erik Larson (2003)

The Devil in the White City tells the story of the architect Burnham, and notorious serial killer H.H. Holmes, roaming free at the World Fair in Chicago, 1893. Also known as the World’s Columbian Exposition, this was the fair meant to outsize Paris, where ten years earlier the Eiffel Tower had been built for the same occasion. A city within a city. This was the biggest project Chicago had ever seen. Shops would be created, businesses started, creepy hotels designed. Any architect would kill to get onboard this project.

Murder, blood and madness follows The World Fair, and the small, seemingly insignificant house in the middle, where doors and corridors end for no reason, where bodies upon bodies mysteriously kept piling up, concluding in one thing alone. This wasn’t a hotel anymore. This was a Murder Castle.

Final Review: A splendidly well written and historically accurate tale – which makes it all the more creepy. We follow architects as cops and killers as robbers- trying to outsmart each other in a deadly cat and mouse game. Based on the actual world fair in 1893 it opens your mind to a whole new concept of a forgotten past playing with the power of economy. It was a competition of strength and beauty – city against city – to see who could build the greatest Fair the world had ever seen. With it comes the consequences of the rot and dark alleys when America’s greatest serial-killer sets his hunting ground. I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in mystery, history and architecture. Said to be the inspiration source to Bioshock Infinite’s backdrop – this is defiantly worth a read!

***