When I wrote about Paul Stanley’s autobiography I made of point of stating that I’m not a book blogger or have an intention to be. However, I’m an avid reader and sometimes I come across some rather interesting books that I think are interesting to talk about.
Case in point a book released in the now ancient year of 2003 called The Devil in the White City. If my intention was only to tell you what’s the story I would just say that it’s the story of the serial-killer Dr. H.H. Holmes with the background of the Chicago World Fair of 1893.
However, although that it is precisely the story, the greatest thing about this book is the way it was written. All facts are real (it’s a non-fiction book) but when you’re reading it, it does seem like you’re reading fiction. Especially due to the way the storytelling is built.
The author (Erik Larson) wrote it telling the story of the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 in one chapter and the killings and scams of the serial killer in another. He alternates between the two stories from one chapter to another almost religiously. There are some times, with everything that happens in the fair that it is granted to it some more chapters in a row, also due to the huge amount of characters connected to it, but overall it’s one chapter the fair, another the serial killer.
As a bonus, you even have the case of the murder of the mayor of Chicago, happening almost right after the World’s Fair ended. The amazing thing is that it does have deep connections with the fair.
It looks so much like a crime novel that I really thought we would have a showdown on fair grounds between Burham (the main architect) and Dr. Holmes at the end of the book. I thought somehow their paths would cross and I waited for it to happen.
I found this book completely by accident while I was browsing about The Coop in Harvard. And I confess my utter ignorance for never having heard about a book this good released some 12 years ago. But hey, it’s never too late, right?
If you like a good crime novel and have an interest in architecture (it’s amazing how many architectural terms I learned) and in the history of Chicago and America itself, you could do a lot worse than reading The Devil in the White City.
Reversing the Curse: Inside the History-Making Red Sox Championship Season – Dan Shaughnessy
All The President’s Men
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