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This work intertwines the planning, construction and unwinding of the 1893 Columbian Exhibition in Chicago with the doings of a serial killer that went on in that city at the same period.
Thus, the narrative basically alternates between the actions of luminaries such as Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted and those of a mad criminal. A third plot is also meshed in, regarding another madman living in his delusions.
Though the three series of characters never meet, there is initially a unity of time and place and a strong suspense is developed.
Sadly, about three quarters of the way through, this unity is lost as the Exhibition is closed, the murderer carries his deeds to various other locations such as Philadelphia and Toronto and the madman has been arrested.
The epilogue however does bring all the loose ends together and tells of the final fate of all major protagonists.
There clearly was an outstanding amount of research carried out by the author although, as he himself mentions, his imagination was required to make things fit together. He may also be criticized for his overly lengthy macabre descriptions that appear unnecessary.
Though not perfect, this partially fictional work will certainly prove worthwhile, particularly to those interested in architecture and urban planning.