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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
11,249236351 (3.86)401
Recently added byGeysPatrick, beanbrarian, private library, katt42, pqfuller, TimHeinse, 57thbook, OlaDistrictLibrary, ecmross
Legacy LibrariesThomas C. Dent
  1. 10
    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 401 mentions

English (233)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (235)
Showing 1-5 of 233 (next | show all)
I'd had this book on my TBR list for a while based on some recommendations from friends but I hadn't realized it was nonfiction until I went to buy a copy. For some reason I had thought it was fiction.

Then the book sat on my shelf and every time I thought about picking it up and reading it, I looked at the small print and put it back. I finally decided to get the audio edition. I am so glad I did. This was a fabulous book to experience by listening to it. Jeff Woodman manages to bring to life a wide variety of people in a way that makes the story even more interesting.

There's a shooting and a death at the heart of this book but it's definitely not just about that case. The subtitle of the book is "A Savannah Story" and the book is very much about Savannah and the people who live there.

The shooting and the four trials it took to get a verdict are only part of the story. The background and side stories are filled with interesting and sometimes larger than life characters. Berendt manages to wind the history of Savannah and its citizens so beautifully in and around the criminal case and trials of Jim Williams for killing Danny Hansford.

I highly recommend this audio edition of the book. There's a short interview with the author at the end. ( )
  SuziQoregon | Apr 5, 2019 |
While randomly exploring cities in the US, author Joe Verendt arrived in Savannah and fell in love. At first he was drawn by the beautiful open squares surrounded by historical mansions and Southern society. After he deciding to split his residence between New York and Savannah, he found much more to love.

He introduces an unusual bevy of entertaining characters. Not just the proper uppercrust society of Savannah, but also those quirky enough to catch his eye. There's a man who could poison all of Savannah; a beloved resident who lives happily without permission in vacant mansions while their owners are away; a flamboyant drag queen, and my favorite of all – a voodoo witch who is certain she can alter trials with help from those in their graves.

Most of the story revolves around Jim Williams, a 'new-money' dealer of priceless antiques whose gay lover is found shot to death in Jim's study. Jim doesn't deny he did it, but the police theory of how it happened and Jim's explanation vary wildly.

I would not give this Pulitzer Prize finalist the 'true crime' label it often wears. But it is fun and entertaining and I'm glad to have finally read it. ( )
  streamsong | Feb 3, 2019 |
I'm giving this book 5 stars for making me want to visit Savannah - it seems like that place is full of stone cold weirdos - but 2 stars for true crime/murder purposes. The crime doesn't happen until 40% of the book is done, and the rest of it is just retrials and retrials galore. I loved all the black magic stuff, and the culture of Savannah was really very well drawn. I enjoyed it, it just wasn't quite what I was expecting. ( )
  Katie_Roscher | Jan 18, 2019 |
First off: I get that this book is a classic and therefore no one feels the need to describe anything about it, but I do wish someone had let me know about the rampant homophobia. ( )
1 vote jen.e.moore | Jan 17, 2019 |
Known in Savannah as 'The Book', this incredible book details the murder trials of Jim Williams, owner of Mercer House. It also depicts the lifestyle and culture of Savannah, a one of a kind city in the southern states of the USA. A must read, and the film is a must see. ( )
  LibraryOfRodAndCyn | Jan 2, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 233 (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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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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the book, not the film.
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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 7 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 8 descriptions

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