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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by…

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1994)

by John Berendt

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10,231211281 (3.85)350
Recently added byCindaMac, veredi, mrsreadsbooks, Lollymom, lunacite, MaraBlaise, N1na, JRHudd, JMichelle88, private library
Legacy LibrariesThomas C. Dent
  1. 00
    The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Offering rich details of Savannah in the 1980s (Midnight in the Garden) and Chicago in the 1890s (Devil in the White City), these well-researched and dramatic recreations of terrible crimes are equally compelling, despite differences in time period and location.… (more)
  2. 00
    Run with the Horsemen by Ferrol Sams (libelulla1)
    libelulla1: Filled with quirky characters in a southern town.
  3. 01
    The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective by Kate Summerscale (libelulla1)
    libelulla1: Both are true crime told in narrative format and the crime in each is never fully explained, only speculated about.
  4. 01
    Murder in Mississippi by John Safran (Elcee)
  5. 12
    The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean (VictoriaPL)
  6. 13
    Without Reservation: The Making of America's Most Powerful Indian Tribe and Foxwoods, the World's Largest Casino by Jeff Benedict (jbvm)
    jbvm: This is another 'truth is stranger than fiction' work involving local politics and criminal investigation.

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» See also 350 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 209 (next | show all)
Great book if you want to read about the history of Savannah. Then comes the bad language, and drag queen, sex and Gay sex. ( )
  travelgal | Mar 10, 2017 |
Audiobook read by Jeff Woodman.

Berendt was a free-lance journalist when curiosity took him to Savannah and he began to write about the particularly insular culture of that Southern city. Then a murder happened, and his story really took off.

I read this sometime in the mid to late 1990s. My F2F book club discussed it in June 1997, and I know I had read it before then. Of course, that pre-dated my keeping track of my reads on Goodreads (or even in my handwritten book journal), and I have no notes of my reactions, but I do remember REALLY liking it. I also remember enjoying the movie (starring Kevin Spacey as millionaire murder suspect Jim Williams).

That being said, on re-reading it I’m not so keen about it. It held my interest, but I realize how long it takes to get to the murder and trial, and I found myself not so interested in the eccentric antics of the Savannah residents. That’s probably because I already knew what was coming and was anxious to get on with it. I’m still giving it 4 stars because I believe that was closer to my original reaction to the book.

Jeff Woodman does an adequate job on the audio. His pacing is good, but his Southern accents sounded really bad to me. ( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 19, 2017 |
Hard to put down. Very vivid writing! ( )
  kemilyh1988 | Jan 16, 2017 |
I loved this story - well written, interesting and full of intriguing information. ( )
  essjay1 | Jan 11, 2017 |
As much as I loved this book - and I did - I am relieved to finally be finished with it. I loved every word of it, but I swear it was magically adding pages at the back as I was reading it.

Having seen the movie years ago, I was surprised at how much of this book had little or nothing to do with Jim Williams. I think it made the book that much more enjoyable; Mr. Berendt was masterful at making me feel like I was in the heart of Savannah. I heard their voices and I was in their homes and at their parties.

For a true taste of Southern USA, the kind that has become a rarity as time moves on, I don't think you can go wrong with this book. I'll be re-watching the movie soon too; Kevin Spacey truly is the perfect Jim Williams. ( )
  murderbydeath | Nov 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 209 (next | show all)
Elegant and wicked.... Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil might be the first true-crime book that makes the reader want to book a bed and breakfast for an extended weekend at the scene of the crime.
added by GYKM | editThe New York Times Book Review

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Berendtprimary authorall editionscalculated
Carson, Carol DevineCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heald, AnthonyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woodman, JeffNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my parents
First words
He was tall, about fifty, with darkly handsome, almost sinister features: a neatly trimmed mustache, hair turning silver at the temples, and eyes so black they were like the tinted windows of a sleek limousine—he could see out, but you couldn't see in.
These, then, were the images in my mental gazetteer of Savannah: rum-drinking pirates, strong-willed women, courtly manners, eccentric behaviour, gentle words, and lovely music. That and the beauty of the name itself: Savannah.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the book, not the film.
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Book description
Signed copy I bought at a Goodwill in Emeryville, CA
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679751521, Paperback)

John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil has been heralded as a "lyrical work of nonfiction," and the book's extremely graceful prose depictions of some of Savannah, Georgia's most colorful eccentrics--remarkable characters who could have once prospered in a William Faulkner novel or Eudora Welty short story--were certainly a critical factor in its tremendous success. (One resident into whose orbit Berendt fell, the Lady Chablis, went on to become a minor celebrity in her own right.) But equally important was Berendt's depiction of Savannah socialite Jim Williams as he stands trial for the murder of Danny Hansford, a moody, violence-prone hustler--and sometime companion to Williams--characterized by locals as a "walking streak of sex." So feel free to call it a "true crime classic" without a trace of shame.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:44 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

In charming, beautiful, and wealthy old-South Savannah, Georgia, the local bad boy is shot dead inside of the opulent mansion of a gay antiques dealer, and a gripping trial follows.

» see all 7 descriptions

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