Erik Larson‘s Devil in the White City is one of the most wondrous and horrifying real-life stories you can ever read. At the “good” end of the spectrum, you have the White Fair in Chicago in the early 1890’s. The beautiful white city and debut of the Ferris Wheel. The Devil in the White City is played by serial killer H.H. Holmes. Paramount has decided to pick up this incredible tale again with Leonardo DiCaprio starring as H.H. Holmes, and Martin Scorsese set to direct. This news is fantastic, I have been waiting for a movie adaptation since I first read the book a decade ago.
Devil in the White City refresher:
Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book’s categorization to be sure that ‘The Devil in the White City’ is not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair’s construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor.
Burnham’s challenge was immense. In a short period of time, he was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous "White City" around which the fair was built. His efforts to complete the project, and the fair’s incredible success, are skillfully related along with entertaining appearances by such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison.
The activities of the sinister Dr. Holmes, who is believed to be responsible for scores of murders around the time of the fair, are equally remarkable. He devised and erected the World’s Fair Hotel, complete with crematorium and gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event as well as his own charismatic personality to lure victims.