H.H. Holmes: The True History of the White City Devil provides an intriguing complement and contrast to Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City, as the author aims to uncover and convey the actual facts regarding the case of the man who is frequently (erroneously) called:  “America’s First Serial Killer.” The better-known portrayal of Holmes (as the devious entrepreneur who built a hotel to lure in visitors to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair in order to kill them)  has been influenced by sensationalized newspaper accounts of the time, as well as by Holmes’ own lies and exaggerations, and has thus grown to include far more crimes and murder victims than can in fact be verified.  Author Selzer (who can also currently be seen on the History Channel series:  “American Ripper”) offers extensive research in this readable account of how the genuine story of H.H. Holmes influenced the legend.

Alison M.