Books: Venice the Menaced

The author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil finds his next Savannah on the Adriatic

Nine years ago, John Berendt had a problem, the kind you can have only when you've written one of the biggest nonfiction books of the decade. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was on its way to a record-breaking four years on the New York Times best-seller list. Savannah, Ga., where his story is set, was happily inundated with Midnight-loving tourists. Clint Eastwood was preparing the movie. Now the problem: What could Berendt do for an encore? Where was he going to find a town as wiggy as Savannah?

So every time he went on the road to promote his...

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