John Berendt was born in Syracuse, New York, in 1939. He graduated from Harvard College, where he was an editor on the Harvard Lampoon. From 1961 to 1969 he was an associate editor of Esquire; he later worked in television as a writer and producer for David Frost and Dick Cavett, eventually returning to magazine work as a columnist for Esquire and as editor of New York magazine. In 1985 Berendt fell under the spell of Savannah after paying the city a brief visit, and moved there to start work on his first book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. He spent the better part of eight years there. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was published in 1994 to critical acclaim and enormous popular success; Berendt received the 1994 Southern Book Award and was a finalist for the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction. John Berendt now lives in New York City. (From Publisher's Website)
"It's difficult to categorize this book. On one level, it is a travelogue, recounting former New York magazine editor Berendt's eight years in Savannah, Georgia, that beautifully preserved hothouse of the South where eccentric characters like black drag queen Lady Chablis and charming con man Joe Odom blossom in rich profusion. It is also a true-crime tale, the saga of antiques dealer Jim Williams whose 1981 shooting of his sometime lover Danny Hansford in the historic Mercer House obsesses Savannah denizens..." - Library Journal
Mr. Berendt's writing is elegant and wickedly funny, and his eye for telling details is superb.... Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil might be the first true-crime book that makes the reader want to call a travel agent and book a bed and breakfast for an extended weekend at the scene of the crime.
Glenna Whitley - New York Times