Tuesday, September 29, 2009
We finished an idyllic three days in Savannah by sitting in the sunlit Madison square and reading our books before catching an overnight Amtrack to New York. Madison Square is one of the most famous crime scenes in US literary history, as it's the site of the slaying featured in the 90's journalism-thriller 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil' by John Berendt. The book - people in Savannah simply refer to it as 'the book' is notorious and lies like a curse on the city. The reason is its heady mix of fiction and fact. There really was an antiques dealer called Jim Williams and he really did shoot a young man in the 1800's house in my picture above. The book, which is a great read, brought in the tourists and even Clint Eastwood to shoot a picture - but now Savannah can't exactly wriggle free of its reputation as... a bit louche. There again maybe it doesn't want to.
As to the cavalcade of of other characters in the novel, some of them did undoubtedly exist, some have their names changed - and everyone here will tell you that they know someone in it.