The Devil in the White City

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Summary

Part III: In the White City (Chapters 38-42)

Summary Part III: In the White City (Chapters 38-42)

Summary: Chapter 38: Worry

Despite the popularity of the 4th of July festivities, attendance rates continue to worry Burnham and bank investors. Building costs exceed the estimates, and 100,000 visitors per day are needed for a profit. The bankers want the Fair directors to appoint a Retrenchment Committee to cut costs, including layoffs and axing committees. Burnham believes bankers will doom the Fair. The railroads must reduce fares to Chicago, and Millet needs to creatively boost attendance. Everything seems impossible.

Summary: Chapter 39: Claustrophobia

Holmes takes Anna on a tour of his hotel. He asks her to retrieve a document for him in the walk-in vault. He locks her inside and listens as she pounds and begins to suffocate. She believes it is an accident and he will return at any moment.

Holmes contemplates his options and relishes his power; he could save Anna’s life if he wanted to. He could look in and smile so she knows he intentionally trapped her. He could flood the vault with gas and kill her quickly. Anna’s screams and pleading fulfill him sexually. After she quiets, he releases the gas. Holmes returns to Minnie and tells her Anna is waiting for them at the hotel.

Two days later, the Okers, the landlords, receive a letter saying Holmes no longer needs the apartment. Anna’s trunk arrives from Texas but cannot be delivered, so it remains in the station.

At night, Holmes calls a furniture mover, Cephas Humphrey. Humphrey moves a trunk and a rectangular box with the “dimensions of a coffin.” Holmes gives Pitezel clothes from “his cousin Minnie” for his wife, and gives Quinlan two trunks labeled MRW.

Summary: Chapter 40: Storm and Fire

Tragedy strikes. On July 9th, a strong storm gathers. The wind shreds a hot air balloon on the Midway, damages glass panes and roofs, and capsizes an electric boat. However, the Ferris wheel continues to operate perfectly.