After Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil


Wall Street Journal Best-Selling Nonfiction EBook, December 2011

Kindle Nation Daily Review:

“I suspect there are a good many of our readers who like myself savored the pleasures, on the screen or on the printed page, of John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The prose was elegant, the story was gripping, and both book and film were so richly evocative of one of my favorite cities — what was not to like? Yet even after all of that, after all of the seductive, artful presentation of Jim Williams/Kevin Spacey, Danny Hansford/Jude Law, Lady Chablis/Lady Chablis, John Cusack’s narrator, and more, weren’t you left hanging just a bit? Didn’t you want to get closer to the truth, at long last, closer than Hollywood or Berendt’s atmospherics allowed? I did, but I never thought I’d get there until I learned about and read Marilyn Bardsley’s remarkably well-told exposition of the truth of the matter and the evidence behind the intrigue. It was a treat for me, and one that could be consumed in a single satisfying sitting, so it is only right that I should share it here with you. Enjoy. Your questions will be answered, and you may discover both an author and a series to which you will want to return in Marilyn Bardsley and RosettaBooks’ Crimescape® series, for which she is the editor.”
Steve Windwalker

Here’s the set-up:

(196 pages with 43 photographs) Clint Eastwood’s movie and the book by John Berendt from which it was made — Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil — put the grand historic city of Savannah on the map. Tourists flocked to see the gorgeous mansion where flamboyant designer and antiques dealer Jim Williams, played by Kevin Spacey, killed his young gay lover, played by Jude Law. While the movie portrayed the natives of Savannah as remarkably decadent, exotic characters, it missed the amazing dark side of Jim Williams himself.

Savannah owes Jim Williams an enormous debt of gratitude for his remarkable restoration of historic houses. A brilliant and intensely interesting, charismatic figure, he brought a style and sophistication to the city that it did not have before. Rich and famous people, like Jacqueline Onassis and Rockefellers, made special trips to bargain for his extraordinary antique treasures. However, he was also a smooth predator, whose crimes could have put him behind bars long before he shot his lover.

The wonderful world of Jim Williams came crashing down on him one night after he killed Danny Hansford. Williams stood trial four times for premeditated murder. Between the passionate and dedicated prosecution and the best defense lawyers money could buy, precisely what happened that night is still a mystery. The prosecution’s documents, never published before, reveal its highly effective strategies and the intrigue that caused the Georgia Supreme Court to overturn two convictions.


“Finally! The real story of one of the most bizarre cases in modern crime history. Marilyn Bardsley has nailed it. The movie was Hollywood . The book was…a stretch. After Midnight is the unvarnished truth.”
Chuck Hustmyre, bestselling crime novelist and screenwriter, A Killer Like Me and House of the Rising Sun


Marilyn J. Bardsley is the editor of RosettaBooks’ Crimescape® series and the former executive editor and founder of Time Warner’s Crime Library, the premiere true crime site on the Internet. She has written extensively on true crime and is an expert on serial killers.


From the best true crime authors in the business, many of whom have seen their books made into major motion pictures, comes Crimescape® — a new collection of compelling short nonfiction crime eBooks from leading independent eBook publisher RosettaBooks. Taking readers into the dark minds of criminals and the tense hunt to bring perpetrators to justice, Crimescape authors stand apart from other true crime writers because they have personal experience in crime investigations, whether as police detectives, investigative reporters, forensics professionals or criminal psychologists. As riveting storytellers, Crimescape® writers give readers all the information they need to understand relevant clues and the interwoven influences in each criminal case.

“What makes for a good true-crime story? Interesting characters, an engrossing plot, situations that often teeter between life and death. But here’s the MacGuffin about true crime: What you’re reading actually happened. Sometimes truth really is more compelling than fiction. And that’s why you will enjoy reading Crimescape® true crime series.”
Paul Alexander, #1 bestselling author of three Kindle Singles Murdered, Accused, and Homicidal