Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story Paperback – June 28, 1999
|New from||Used from|
2016 Book Awards
Browse award-winning titles. See all 2016 winners
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
The main character in this novel is first and foremost, Savannah, Georgia. Such a glorious and mysterious backdrop for such an intriguing storyline -- and John Berendt fleshed it out so magnificantly, that Savannah breathes and lives as easily as those who live there. Mostly this book is about a rich antique dealer, Jim Williams, who was accused of murder. However, it is not an ordinary murder case -- all sorts of twists come out of the woodwork for this one, making this novel not only a true-crime story, but a mystery as well. Surrounding the murder aspect are the citizens of Savannah that the author comes in contact with: Luther Driggers, a former pesticide employee, who has a vial of poison potent enough to kill every one in the county; Chablis, the potty-mouthed drag queen and performer; Joe Odom, a modern vagrant who uses his home(s) as a tourist stop; and Minerva, the voodoo priestess who uses roots, herbs, and graveyard dirt to weave her magic spells.
Excellent writing and amazing storytelling make Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and must-have book. One of the better novels I have read this year. I watched the movie afterwards, but the book, by far, tells the story better.Read more ›
Basically, it is a true crime novel, but it is written with warmth, humor, and a remarkable eye for detail. Berendt takes the reader behind velvet curtains and antique walls into a society where pedigree is based as much on lineage, wealth, and power as on quirky southern traditions like knowing how to serve a fine platter of tomato sandwiches.
Forget Eastwood's oddly disappointing film; this book is quite marvelous. True crime lover? You will enjoy the book's steamy setting and colorful characters, an almost poetic break from the repetitive and merely competant writings by the likes of Ann Rule. Aristocracy - watcher? You will savour the odd little schemes and intrigues exposed without any hint of malice. The tragic saga of one man's extraordinary ascent into high society is presented amidst many delicious (and often hilarious) vignettes of all levels of Savannah's class structure. The author beautifully describes Savannah's magic, mystery, and achingly sad decay. Really, it is a fine tribute to this historic city of likeable conmen, sexy ne'er-do-wells, conniving politicians, and obsessive hostesses.
It's a real page-turner, a good companion if you are planning to visit Savannah.
Berendt seems to be the perfect example of a writer being in the right place at the right time - he appears in Savannah as a featues writer to cover a lavish holiday party hosted by the extravagant antiques dealer Jim Williams, at the famed Mercer House, and is swept up in a murder and ensuing trial. There is no great mystery associated with the murder itself, everyone knows ... pulled the trigger, and yet Berendt manages to write a colorful, suspenseful page-turner that captivated the imagination of the public like few other non-fiction novels ever have. In Cold Blood by Capote comes to mind, but trust me this story is infinitely more entertaining.
Ultimately, the book works on many levels. It is an effective chronicle of a series of high-profile trials, an extended travelogue in which the colorful city of Savannah stands out as perhaps the star of the book, and a profile of Savannah's arostocracy, in which the reader understands Williams' sense of wanting to belong despite considerable obstacles. (Williams was not "old money", and therefore not really accepted in the city's highest circles, and as the trial revealed he was gay). Most of all, the book is a smorgasbord of colorful characters (none more compelling than the Lady Chablis) and bizarre situations that create a timeless sense of Savannah as a mysterious, alluring city.Read more ›
I've just re-read "The Book" for the third time and find it even more compelling, charming and utterly delightful than before.
As for its detractors, maybe this is a Southern thing, as we do celebrate our more colorful characters down here...my town's character doesn't collect insects, but he rides a bicycle, sits on Main Street all day, waves at everyone and knows their children...and yes, there are people who are one step ahead of their creditors, but I don't think they have tour buses stopping at their houses for lunch and the occasional hair cut. And no one I've ever known has taken a visitor to a cemetary, no matter how pretty is was, for chicken salad sandwiches and martinis.
I don't think the Married Women's Card Club could have survived for all these years if it were located say, in Chicago or St. Paul. It takes years of strict social standards to keep such rituals as when to serve water and when to "pass the linen" alive. The Olgelthorpe Club, Savannah Yacht Club (and its cousins) are still alive and well in the South, and have not yielded to outside pressures to become politically correct.
The charm and the underbelly of Savannah is real...Berendt captured it on paper and I saw it first hand.
I've never "fallen" for a city like I did for Savannah and, had it not been for "The Book," I would have never visited.
From what I read and what I learned on my trip, Jim Williams would have reveled in the spotlight of "The Book." I'm sure he's looking down (or up, depending on your point of view) and enjoying every snapshot the tourists take of Mercer House. In fact, I could have sworn I saw him looking out of the second story window....or it could have been the sun....
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Normally I like the book much more than I do the made for tv movies. ...but not so in this case. ..the movie was much betterPublished 8 days ago by Karen
The story of the book is an incredibly charming depiction of life in Savannah that swirls around some darker tones. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Kylie Rogers
Based on actual events in 1980s Savannah, GA, this book is chock-full of interesting and eccentric characters, myth, magic, and murder. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Diane L. Lybbert
Read this book many years ago. Wanted to revisit it. It is extremely well written (was on the New York Times bestseller list for many weeks when it was first written. Read morePublished 9 days ago by leslie baker
I thought this book was going to be awesome and make me want to go to savannah like other people have claimed. I thought the book was boring and it was hard to get through. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
I was excited to read this book as I had recently been to Savannah, Georgia.Published 11 days ago by Beverly
I had never read this book. When it first came out I was not interested in reading it . I love Savannah and so I thought I would try to read it . Read morePublished 13 days ago by Kindle Customer