What I Read This Week – The Devil in the White City

This is one of those books that started out so dry, I almost gave up on it by the second chapter. That would have been a huge mistake. Once the plot began to unfold, I couldn’t tear myself away from it.

There are two stories being told here. One was about the politics and preparation surrounding the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. The other was the tale of a infamous serial killer that’s so macabre, I hoped it was fiction (it wasn’t).

I really didn’t know much about the 1892 World’s Fair, other than the fact that it happened. Reading about it’s inception, design and execution was fascinating. The turn of the century was such an incredible time of innovation and progress. As far as the book was concerned though, it was only the backdrop for a darker story.

With the city’s attention focused on the fair, nobody noticed people, mostly young ladies, were disappearing. These missing women all had one thing in common – their association with a local hotelier, Dr. H.H. Holmes. He was a handsome and clever psychopath who not only tortured his victims, he also swindled and robbed them. He was pure evil.

The Devil in the White City was exceptionally well written. Although it was obviously meant for entertainment, I can’t help thinking how much fun school would have been if my textbooks had been written with this level of intrigue and suspense. History doesn’t have to be boring.

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