MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL
Shots rang out in the grandest mansion in Savannah, Georgia in the misty, early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defence? 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 non-fiction. Berendt skilfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of America’s Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a compelling murder case. It is a spell-binding story peopled by a gallery of remarkable characters: the well-bred society ladies of the Married Woman’s Card Club; Chablis, the gorgeous black drag queen; the hapless recluse with a bottle of poison so powerful it could kill every man, woman and child in Savannah; the young redneck gigolo; the ageing and profane Southern belle; young blacks dancing the minuet at the black debutante ball; Jim Williams, the acerbic and arrogant antiques dealer; and Minerva, the voodoo priestess who works her magic in the graveyard at midnight. These and other Savannahians act as a Greek chorus, with Berendt revealing the alliances, hostilities and intrigues that thrive in a town where everyone knows everyone else. Brilliantly conceived and masterfully written, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil has become a modern classic. Since its publication in 1994, it has broken the record for the longest time spent on the New York Times hardback bestseller list, has been translated into twenty-four languages and made into a major film directed by Clint Eastwood.