The story focuses on the lives of two men who turned the 1893 Chicago World's Fair into their playground. One man, Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction, in a short period of time was forced to overcome immense obstacles to construct the famous "White City" around which the fair was built. The other, H.H. Holmes, was a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor who is believed to be responsible for scores of murders around the time of the fair. Holmes 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 to their death.
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