I listen to a podcast called My Favorite Murder. When I was working from home back in March I started re-listening to it from the very beginning. In one of their early episodes they mentioned an illustrator named Holly Carden who created a H.H. Holmes Murder Castle puzzle. I immediately looked it up and could not help but buy it 😁
If you are not familiar with H.H. Holmes, he was a serial killer notorious for preying on visitors to the 1893 World’s Fair hosted in Chicago. He constructed this building meant to be a hotel, but it was basically a giant murder dungeon. He hired a ton of contractors to work on different parts of the house for short stints so that no one ever knew the whole scope of what was being built. There was a character based on him in American Horror Story’s hotel season, and I highly recommend the book The Devil in the White City (soon to be a show starring Leonardo DiCaprio!).
One thing I like about puzzles is how well you get to know the image.. you know, since you stare at it for hours trying to figure out where all the tiny pieces go! Carden’s illustration style here is simple and reminiscent of comic book animation. I like her use of colors inside the mansion contrasted with a colder monochrome palette for the surrounding area – a little ironic considering all the horrors that went on inside while the world was celebrating outside. The imagery is disturbing but not gory. She also includes an insert that describes what is going on in different parts of the mansion. It would be really hard to do this puzzle without looking at the box cover just because there’s so much going on. The quality is also nicer than I expected, it has a heavier weight than the usual puzzles you would buy in a store.
I know the subject is morbid and won’t be for everyone, but I really enjoyed this puzzle – it was not too hard and definitely not easy. It goes for $35 from Carden’s website and I would recommend this for any murderinos out there or as a gift for the true-crime lovers in your life.