[bc:The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America|21996|The Devil in the White City Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America|Erik Larson|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1312066724s/21996.jpg|3486041]Looking back, it was rather strange when I found myself standing and applauding Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America; and for a moment even Petey the Watts Bar Wonder Terrier was concerned. As two stories, The Chicago World’s Fair of 1983 and the crimes of Dr. H.H. Holmes, weave and intertwine, as the reader braces for their collision. The collision never comes, but the gravity of each story pulls on the other forever altering it’s path.The World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 became the stage on which the 19th century gave birth to the 20th century. For many in America, especially for those rural areas, the daily life they lived was virtually the same as their grandparents, or even great-grandparents. The fair offered a glimpse behind the curtain to see much of what the 20th century had to offer. The zipper, Cracker Jacks, Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, a device that enabled books to be printed in Braille, working electrical power and the Ferris Wheel all debuted at the fair. H.H. Holmes is believed by many to be the first serial killer in American history, and for him the fair became a siren’s call luring thousands, including many women, to Chicago hoping to avoid the economic depression of the day. God only knows the real number Holmes killed. Nine deaths were confirmed, but the number could be as large as 200. The limited communication of the day made it easy for someone to disappear.Larson’s telling of these stories is captivating as mixes the historically accurate with descriptions fuel the images of the imagination.