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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly written
In the morning hours of May 2, 1981 shots are heard from one of Savannah, Georgia's grandest mansions. Was it a murder or self-defence? For nearly a decade, the aftermath has reverberated throughout this beautiful city.

This true crime murder story interweaves amongst a gallery of remarkable characters:

Well-bred society ladies compare notes about...
Published on Dec 16 2007 by Toni Osborne

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Did I miss something???
I read this book and struggled over every word. Perhaps I read
over the sentence that tied this book together.
In my opinion it was just a travel brochure for
Savannah,Georgia telling about the different places, and the more curious characters.
I'm one of those people who thinks it's worth your while to read every book you can, but I'm having a...
Published on April 26 2004 by L. Hall


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly written, Dec 16 2007
By 
Toni Osborne "The Way I See It" (Montreal, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
In the morning hours of May 2, 1981 shots are heard from one of Savannah, Georgia's grandest mansions. Was it a murder or self-defence? For nearly a decade, the aftermath has reverberated throughout this beautiful city.

This true crime murder story interweaves amongst a gallery of remarkable characters:

Well-bred society ladies compare notes about their husbands, a hilarious foul mouth black drag queen does her act, a voodoo priestess works her roots in the graveyard at midnight, a morose inventor with a bottle of poison powerful enough to kill everyone in town, a turbulent young redneck gigolo is a "walking streak of sex", an aging Southern belle is the "soul of pampered self-absorption". Some other eccentric residents of Savannah are observed .A sweet talking piano playing con artist, a arrogant antiques dealer, a young black dancing the minuet at a black debutant ball are just a few more.

This book is brilliantly written in the first person and Berendt himself is a significant player in the events as they unfold. The story is a captivating travelogue that gives an engaging portrait of a colourful southern city and its residents. The plethora of eccentric and bizarre characters makes you forget that they are real people. This novel is an entertaining masterpiece.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Nov. 8 2013
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I love this book, it keeps my interest every paragraph every chapter there is always something going on.
It discrbes Savahna to a tea.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great novel, March 10 2006
By 
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a tour-de-force of emotion. The truth sings in this page turner. The Deep South is America's bastion of antebellum traditions and social graces that permeate every tier of life in Midnight in the Garden. Truman Capote is probably the closest thing we have to MIDNIGHT and that would be his In cold Blood—but that was set in the Midwest, even though it was written by a Southerner. Savannah is the gatekeeper of it all, wrapping itself in isolation from intrusions of northern or foreign influences that have even permeated its sisterly rival, Charleston, in a more homogenous age. John Berendt, a true foreigner in this antique city, slowly unfolds a murder mystery with the same whispery gossip that can only exist in venues where the present day characters have evolved from a musty, mildewed past. To wend his way into Savannah's cloistered social maze, Berendt must become a trusted confidant, a real participant in wildly divergent lifestyles extending from a black drag queen's flamboyant escapades to a loveable drunken shyster and into the silver and crystal studded mansion society that still rules much of the South. Integrating himself into this intense crazy quilt of fascinating people who make up Savannah, Berendt has created a magnificent novel, one of the best to come from the South in many years. To truly understand the non-fiction side of this scandalous murder story, one must become a part of the society that whirled around it. A southern murder event is like none other. It envelopes families, history, racial and social barriers, and seems to silently pervade the oppressive summer mist that often creates a surreal stage amid the huge live oaks and their ghostly moss on moonlit nights. If you’re one for another flamboyant and riveting Southern genre novel, you must, must, must read -----A Tour of Southern Homes and Gardens by Jackson McCrae-----with its myriad twists and turns. While Midnight is one of my favorite books----- A Tour of Southern Homes---- makes it look somewhat pale—and that book also is rooted in truth. Truly, the Southerners have it hands-down when it comes to telling a good tale.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully Dark and Twisted, Feb. 18 2006
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is such an amazing book. It is twisted and dark and everything good and devilishly delightful. Also recommend: In Cold Blood, My Fractured Life, and City of Fallen Angels.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Enjoyable, May 28 2003
By 
Melanie (Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
Each chapter is crafted as if it is a short story, which Berendt has admitted to be deliberate as part of his strategy in crafting this book. The flow of the story and the characterization make the book feel more like fiction, yet this is non-fiction and the events you read about are historical fact.
You'll fly through this book without even realizing it is almost over. The writing is very original and the understated style of it draws you in and holds you. This author is very talented, and I look forward to more from him.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Midnight---do you know where your children are?, June 5 2004
By A Customer
This book is like two others that I've read in the past few years. The first was "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles" by Dunne, and the other was "The Bark of the Dogwood." These two, along with "Midnight" are excellently paced, gossipy, accessible, and great reads. But of the three, "Midnight is by far my favorite. "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" is really two books - the first half is a present day snapshot of Savannah, Georgia, an old-style Southern city with plenty of grace and charm. The second half is the story of the murder trial(s) of Jim Williams, one of Savannah's most interesting residents. The second half is much more interesting than the first. Perhaps that is because every time Williams makes an appearance, things turn interesting very quickly. (Having seen the movie, I can't picture Williams without thinking of the remarkable Kevin Spacey). One character who draws a lot of attention in both the book and the movie is the Lady Chablis. In the movie she occupies far too much screen time - her role in the book is much more reasonable. I suppose the popularity of the Lady is due to her "exotic" nature as a drag queen, but I find her character to be pretty unremarkable - it seems faintly ridiculous to complain that she could be any ol' drag queen, but realistically, she adds nothing to the story of any substance. I wish more attention had been paid to the "occult" aspects of the story - the title seems to invite this scrutiny. The fact that an extrememly wealthy Southern man on trial for murder puts more stock in voodoo than his defense lawyers is remarkable. I found myself wishing Berendt would have questioned Williams at length as to the reasons he chose to believe in these supernatural powers. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil does a great job of transplanting the reader into "Old South" Georgia with enough colorful characters to keep the interest level high; it's just a shame none of us will ever get invited to one of Jim Williams' Christmas Parties.
Would also recommend "The Two Mrs. Grenvilles" and "Bark of the Dogwood."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, Savannah is that strange...., July 13 2004
By 
Sam (Key West, Florida) - See all my reviews
This story is a good read about some of the wild and wealthy who lived and died in Savannah in the 1980's. My parents live in Savannah, if you have ever spent anytime in that area you would know that it is a dead on account of the people who live there... Everything from the kooky insect guy (Driggers) to the Voo Doo which goes on "religiously" just over the Savannah river in South Carolina. As usual the book and movie share the same name and thats about it (read: the movie stinks the book doesn't).
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4.0 out of 5 stars CD Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil, Jan. 22 2010
CD = Excellent quality & thoroughly enjoyed. Really a 5-star product but it arrived a day later than expected. Remember, when ordering give the Canadian mail system extra time. Better yet, use a different delivery service; I suggest UPS.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great summer reading, July 4 2007
By 
Mary Ellen (St. Catharines, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
"Embedded - not set- in the capital S " South" -Wonderfully quirky and stylish story including murder , the luscious city of Savannah and a little bit of voodoo just for fun.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Understand the comparisons, May 27 2004
By A Customer
I understand the comparisons being made to Capote's "In Cold Blood" what with
the hybrid genre thing going on, but for me,
"Midnight" was more like "Bark of the Dogwood" than "In Cold Blood."
Nevertheless, this John Berendt
thriller (not in the gaudy commercial sense) is one
of the best-written books of the last century.
Truly. I avoided this for years because of the hype
and the awful movie that was made of it, but
when I did finally read it I found an almost perfect book.
My question is this: Where is Mr. Berendt now and WHERE'S his next book? We're all waiting!
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Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt (Paperback - May 10 1995)
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