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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (original 1994; edition 1999)

by John Berendt

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10,034206284 (3.84)340
Member:abwahl1998
Title:Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Authors:John Berendt
Info:Vintage (1999), Edition: Later Printing, Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:None

Work details

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt (1994)

  1. 00
    The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House 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.
  2. 00
    Run with the Horsemen by Ferrol Sams (libelulla1)
    libelulla1: Filled with quirky characters in a southern town.
  3. 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)
  4. 01
    Murder in Mississippi by John Safran (Elcee)
  5. 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.
  6. 13
    The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean (VictoriaPL)
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» See also 340 mentions

English (203)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (205)
Showing 1-5 of 203 (next | show all)
Engaging cast of unforgettable characters set in Savannah, Georgia. Kevin Spacey did a great job in the movie, but as always, the book is better. ( )
  FoxTribeMama | Sep 25, 2016 |
loved detail of Savannah, Georgia

Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares.
This review has been flagged by multiple users as abuse of the terms of service and is no longer displayed (show).
  christinejoseph | Jun 25, 2016 |
A curious book, atmospheric for sure, and full of intrigue; showcasing the characters of Savannah against the backdrop of Jim William's repeated murder trials.
It is perhaps unfair to take against it for it's gossipy tone, since that is the raison d'etre of the whole book; but I think that this voyeuristic tone worked better in the film... ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil – J. Berendt
3 stars

This one had been on my TBR list for a very long time. I’m glad I finally managed to get to it. I listened to the audio version read by Jeff Woodman, on cassette tape. That seemed appropriate as I progressed through this book about a murder which took place in Savannah, Georgia in 1981. The story seemed quite dated, as were the library cassettes. The characters were very colorful and some parts of the story had me laughing out loud. In the end, however, I didn’t find myself liking any of these so called charming people. Snobbery, narcissism and dishonestly don’t rate very highly with me. I didn’t believe Berendt’s assertions that Atlanta handled its race relations more civilly than other areas of the South any more than I believed that this was a truly non-fiction account. I feel fairly disgusted by the misuse of taxpayer money in the many botched murder trials, but none of that surprised me. I’m a Yankee, but I spent my adolescence in the South and married a Texan. This book depicted many of the things about Southern culture that I dislike intensely while showing little of the aspects that I dearly love.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
The cover looks so menacing and creepy and with the whole murder in the summary I thought this book was going to be vastly darker than what it was! Instead it was... I don't know how to accurately describe it. Hauntingly beautiful and poetic, not scary or anything but slightly chilling at points. John Berendt found himself captivated by the city of Savannah and spending more and more time there because he was drawn to it's unique cast of characters and trapped in time ways. The love with which he describes the people he meets is evident and these are people you won't soon forget, about a third of the way through the book the reader finds himself wondering, what is going on, where is all the murder?!? Soon we understand that one of the people that Berendt has been getting to know finds himself embroiled in scandal by killing one of his part time employees. The cast of characters then circles around this intrigue and scandal creating a compelling look at how a city copes with murder. Fascinating and rich, this book makes me want to visit Savannah and experience the culture and people for myself. A wonderful book! ( )
  ecataldi | May 4, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 203 (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 editionsconfirmed
Carson, Carol DevineCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heald, AnthonyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woodman, JeffNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
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.
Quotations
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.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the book, not the film.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Signed copy I bought at a Goodwill in Emeryville, CA
Haiku summary

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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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