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Larson, Erik. The devil in the white city; murder, magic, and madness at the fair that changed America.

LARSON, Erik. The devil in the white city; murder, magic, and madness at the fair that changed America. Random House, Vintage. 464p. notes. bibliog. index. c2003. 0-375-72560-1. $14.95. SA*

If you did not know this is a history book, you would think it a mystery novel, so skillfully does Larson weave together the story of the architect who directed the building of the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893 and the story of the psychopathic serial killer who murdered a number of those who were drawn to Chicago by the fair. This meticulously researched work with its 50 pages of notes, sources and index reads like a popular suspense novel complete with daring accomplishments, gruesome murders and a tireless police chase. What matter if the daring accomplishment is an architectural feat--complete with the world's first "Ferris" wheel and an island and lagoon designed by Frederick Law Olmstead? What matter if the American reader has never heard of architect Daniel Burnham or of the assassination of Chicago mayor Prendergast? What matter if the Philadelphia detective on the trail of a psychopath had never heard the term? The reader will not put this book down. Such a combination of writing skill and historical inquiry is rare indeed. Highly recommended. Pat Moore, Brookline, MA
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Author:Moore, Pat
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 2004
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