After Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

Marilyn Bardsley

December 17, 2017

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IN BRIEF

Savannah owes Jim Williams thanks for bringing in millions of tourists to see his mansion and the city’s pastel beauty and dark underside. For the first time, Williams is exposed as a smooth predator whose illegal acts could have put him behind bars long before he shot his male lover.

Learn more at AfterMidnightBook.com


Jim Williams had it all: style, culture, charisma, and sophistication. As a premier antiques dealer in Savannah, he mingled with celebrities, including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and the Rockefellers, who came to admire his extraordinary treasures. His legacy thrust Savannah into the national spotlight and transformed the genteel city into a tourist mecca.

But three decades of hard work came crashing down the night he shot Danny Hansford, his wild young lover. Jim Williams stood trial four times over the next decade for premeditated murder.

Today, tourists flock to Mercer House to see the gorgeous mansion depicted in Clint Eastwood’s movie and the book from which it was made—Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil—where flamboyant designer and antiques dealer Jim Williams (Kevin Spacey) killed Danny Hansford (Jude Law). While the movie and book portrayed the natives of Savannah as remarkably decadent, exotic characters, they missed the surprising dark side of Jim Williams himself. He was a smooth predator whose crimes could have put him behind bars long before the death of Danny Hansford.

After Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is the newly revised and expanded version of the #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling true account of the crime, which includes crucial testimony recreating the courtroom drama between a gifted prosecutor and a brilliant defense attorney as they battle over the future of a self-made aristocrat. More than 40 photos and revealing insider interviews bring new life to the vivid cast of characters in this unique southern crime story.

Crimescape™ is a bestselling RosettaBooks collection of compelling, short nonfiction crime eBooks by the best true crime authors in the business. Taking readers into the dark heart of the criminal mind and the tense hunt to bring the perpetrators to justice, Crimescape™ authors stand apart from others because of their expertise in the field as police detectives, forensic professionals, criminal psychologists, and investigative reporters. As riveting storytellers, our authors bring readers unique insight into the murderous mind and some of the world’s most mysterious and fascinating cases.

Marilyn Bardsley is the editor of RosettaBook’s 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.

“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 the Kindle Singles Accused and Murdered

“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 Bardsley is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author and the editor of Crimescape®. She is the former executive editor and founder of Time Warner's Crime Library, the premier true crime site on the Internet. Ms. Bardsley has written extensively on true crime and is an expert on serial killers. She also appears frequently on news programs and documentaries for the History Channel, The Learning Channel and Carolina Public Television. Her feature story on the Atlanta child murders was required reading for the Green River police task force.

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Wall St. 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:

(A 100-page True Crime Short with photographs) Clint Eastwood’s movie and the book 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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marilyn Bardsley is the editor of RosettaBooks’s 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.

ABOUT THE SERIES

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 the Kindle Singles Accused and Murdered

 

Press Release

“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

Savannah owes Jim Williams a huge debt of gratitude for bringing in tens of millions of tourists to see his mansion and the pastel beauty of this city with a dark underside. AFTER MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL by Marilyn Bardsley exposes for the first time Williams as a smooth predator with information that could have put him behind bars long before he shot Danny Hansford in the expanded version of the #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling true account of this crime

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 e-books from leading independent e-book publisher RosettaBooks. Taking readers into the dark heart of the criminal mind and the tense hunt to bring perpetrators to justice, Crimescap® eauthors stand apart from other true crime writers because they have personal experience in crime investigation, whether as police detectives, investigative reporters, forensics professionals or criminal psychologists. Riveting storytellers, Crimescape® short nonfiction writers give readers all the information they need to understand relevant clues and the interwoven influences in each criminal case.

Paul Alexander, the #1 bestselling true crime Kindle Singles author of Murdered and Accused said, “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.”

AFTER MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL is one of the first six releases in the continuing Crimescape® series from RosettaBooks. For an author interview or a PDF review copy, please contact:

Hilsinger-Mendelson East
Sandi Mendelson — 212.725.7707 — [email protected]