Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story
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. John Berendt's sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction. Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case.
It is a spellbinding story peopled by a gallery of remarkable characters: the well-bred society ladies of the Married Woman's Card Club; the turbulent young redneck gigolo; the hapless recluse who owns a bottle of poison so powerful it could kill every man, woman, and child in Savannah; the aging and profane Southern belle who is the "soul of pampered self-absorption"; the...
It's difficult to categorize this book. On one level, it is a travelogue, recounting former New York magazine editor Berendt's eight years in Savannah, Georgia, that beautifully preserved hothouse of the South where eccentric characters like black drag queen Lady Chablis and charming con man Joe Odom blossom in rich profusion. It is also a true-crime tale, the saga of antiques dealer Jim Williams whose 1981 shooting of his sometime lover Danny Hansford in the historic Mercer House obsesses Savannah denizens; they watch as Williams endures four trials and is eventually acquitted, only to die of a heart attack a few months later, haunted (some say) by Hansford's vengeful ghost. Although non-fiction, Berendt's book reads like a novel (he admits he has taken 'certain storytelling liberties'), and this reviewer sometimes wondered where the truth ends and the fiction begins. Still, this entertaining book will appeal to many readers.-- Wilda Williams
Author: Berendt, John.
- Publisher: Vintage
- Pages: 400
- Publication Date: 1999
- Edition: Reprint
- Binding: Paperback
- MSRP: 16.95
- ISBN13: 9780679751526
- ISBN: 0679751521
- Other ISBN: 9780307538376
- Other ISBN Binding: printisbn
- Language: en
- Quality Rating: 1
- "Book cover image may be different than what appears on the actual book."
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