Skip to comments."Who Named the Knife"; "Midnight In the Garden of Good & Evil"; More
Posted on 08/01/2011 9:09:11 AM PDT by Fishtalk
Two Books reviews: Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt and Who Named the Knife by Linda Spalding. One a study of murder and life in Savannah, Georgia, the other, also a true crime genre, is a lesson in just how silly liberals can get.
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Kind of going far back on ‘THE BOOK’ as it’s called around here (Midnight in the Garden for everyone else).
I remember watching the news reports about the murder case. The whole thing was just a big mess.
It’s actually a good book all the same.
Yes, it’s an older book.
Very good book, strange case.
My book club recommended it as it had been one of their book of the month choices. I also know it was a movie.
I like True Crime books. THIS book was, eh, different.
Toured Savanah 3 weeks ago, what a neat city. Saw the house the Book is bassed on.
The Mercer house is indeed impressive. I took the tour a few years ago. It was a pleasant experience.
You picked a very warm time to visit us.
Actually, Williams WAS convicted twice by jury trial but both verdicts were thrown back by the State Supreme Court due to defects in the Prosecutor’s case. In the third trial, the Prosecutor’s case became so unhinged that THAT jury failed to convict.
Williams never claimed innocence of the shooting and the defense posture was ALWAYS that the ‘crime’ was something less than 1st Degree Murder. The prosecutor stubbornly refused to make a lesser charge and Williams ultimately walked.
Williams, apparently, spent most of a decade in jail awaiting trial for a capital murder charge. Ironically, shortly after the third trial, Williams died of an apparent heart attack and never enjoyed the fruits of his acquittal.
BTW: Only 1/3 of Berendt’s book addresses the murder and Williams’ trials. The remainder provides a backstory of simply fabulous dimensions that is supposed to convey the ‘context’ within which Williams moved and the nature of the community that grappled with his behavior and ‘alleged’ crime. I would hesitate to label this a ‘True Crime’ book.
One Man’s Opinion
And a most informed opinion. I thank you.
the Voodoo woman was my most favorite part of the book. Williams said he pays his defense guys thousands and he gets better service from the voodoo lady. You had to smile cause it was true!
I met my wife in '01, and we took a trip to Savannah where she bought "The Book". She fell in love with the city too, so now we go several times each year. Actually, we are due for another visit. We have partied several times with Jerry Spence from "The Book", and my wife insisted that we go and meet Chablis once. (I wasn't impressed- very pretentious and stuck on itself.)
We have toured Mercer House, and spent many hours walking through Boneventure Cemetery. Even shared martinis at Conrad Aiken's grave a few times.
Yep, I just talked myself into it. Time to put in for some time off, Vinnie Van Go-Goes is calling my name!
Just ate at Vinnie’s a few weeks ago. It was as good as ever.
They still don’t take plastic.
I’ve run into Chablis a few times myself. Your opinion is spot on.
If you go out to Bonaventure again, take the sharp right after you leave the gate and go back into Greenwich. Nothing to historical, but, some very nice picnic benches and a wonderful tidal pond and garden are back there. When I was a child, we would go out there frequently for a picnic.
If you like cemeteries, you would also want to check out Laurel Grove on the other side of town. That is where Juliette Gordon Lowe, General McLaws, and several other rather famous folk are.
E-mail me if you have any questions.
Berendt admits that it is ‘Faction’ in the preface.
And most of the other stuff isn’t necessarily accurate either.
But, it was still fun.
Used to love the Old Malone's, too.
I remember a GREAT seafood place out at Thunderbolt from the early '90s. The tables were big wooden spools, and they would lay out newspaper on them. Best fried oysters I ever had in my life. (I think it is gone, now.)
I can't wait to get back down there.
I failed to appreciate the presence of Chablis, the Lady of 6000 Songs, Mandy and Joe and so many others who were more or less ‘merely present’ within the town while all the Williams ‘hoo-haw’ was going down. While often ‘colorful’, they interrupted the flow and added nothing to the central point which was the killing and the trials.
Williams OUGHT to have been more than enough ‘story’ for a fascinating book in his own right. Berendt’s construction seemed much too impressed with the notion of inserting himself into the storyline and less with a satisfactory exposition of how Williams got into that mess and subsequently battered his way out.
BTW: I thoroughly enjoyed Clint Eastwood’s ‘take’ on the story and the way he constructed a movie that, while clearly derived from Berendt’s book, was not ‘slavishly bound’ to it’s glaring faults. I thought he moved some of the overwrought minor players artfully away from center stage and he happily lost most of the fluff to focus on the heart of the matter.
One Man’s Opinion
I never saw the movie. I think I shall.
I am going to share your thoughts with my book club as this was a recent selection.
Thanks. And I agree with you about the addition of all the local “color”. It confused me at first although at some point I settled down and enjoyed the read. I’m thinking such a story would make a great movie.
What an interesting development.
‘Share away’, Fishtalk, but DO also share whatever responses come back, please.
I shall do.
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