Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
John Berendt

Longtime readers of the Headboard will have noticed that true crime is one of my favourite genres, so it may come as a surprise that I only got to this megaseller nearly ten years after its first publication. And I have to say I don’t see what the fuss was all about. A good-natured collection of character sketches of Savannah eccentrics and a frankly rather uninteresting crime doesn’t add up to much of a book, and I couldn’t help thinking that Berendt found his supporting cast a lot more interesting than I did. I also developed the impression very early on that he was, if not making things up, at least gilding the lilies (or magnolias, or Spanish moss, or whatever). The Author’s Note at the end, hinting vaguely at “certain storytelling liberties” and places where “the narrative strays from nonfiction” confirmed these suspicions, and left me even more disappointed.

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