Chicago, 1893. One man built a heaven on earth. Another built hell beside it.
The Chicago World Fair was the greatest fair in American history. This is the story of the men and women whose lives it irrevocably changed and of two men in particular: an architect and a serial killer.
The architect is Daniel Burnham, a man of great integrity and depth. It was his vision of the fair that attracted the best minds and talents of the day. The killer is Henry H. Holmes. Intelligent as well as handsome and charming, Holmes opened a boarding house which he advertised as 'The World's Fair Hotel'. Here in the neighbourhood where he was admired and liked by all, he seduced, tortured and murdered young women, incinerating them in the furnace he had built in the basement of his hotel.
Spicing the narrative are the sad, charming and funny stories of a supporting cast of historical characters including Buffalo Bill, Scott Joplin, Theodore Dreiser and George Ferris, the steel tycoon whose mammoth wheel became America's answer to the Eiffel tower. The interweaving and juxtaposition of these two men's different 'missions'- one good and one evil- provides the core to a non- fiction suspense drama of the highest order.
“'A story that flits effortlessly between the infernal and the inspired'”
“'A startling and illuminating read'”
“'Captures the spirit of an America bursting with pioneering drive...a gripping book'”
Independent on Sunday
“'Fuses history and entertainment to give the dramatic effect of a novel...this truth really is stranger than fiction'”
The New York Times
“'An irresistible page-turner that reads like the most compelling, sleep defying fiction'”