Friday, 28 May 2010

Savannah Book Review.

There seems to be a bit of a book review vibe going on with me this month so I feel it might be the time to share some "insider information" with QCI members planning on attending the annual meeting this October in Savannah.
My co-host Nina and I have, during the course of our 18 month long meeting planning journey, acquired several new books for our shelves.
The first book I'd like to tell you about is "More than Mercer House: Savannah's Jim Williams & His Southern Houses" by Dr. Dorothy Williams Kingery.

Jim Williams was one of Savannah's earliest champions and a private restorationalist. Beginning in 1955 when only 25 years old he restored over 50 houses in Savannah, Georgia and South Carolina over the next 35 years.
The book's flyleaf has this description:
"Mr Williams wrote a series of essays about the great impact that these special houses had on his life. Using these essays as a guide, this book takes its readers on a journey. Along the way we learn about Savannah's early restoration movement  and the critical period when many fine houses were lost. We visit some of the houses that Jim saved."
One of the finest houses that Jim Williams saved was Mercer House, a restoration that took two years.
Construction on Mercer House, situated on Monterey Square one of Savannah's prettiest, was begun in 1860 by General Hugh Weedon Mercer the great grandfather of the songwriter Johnny Mercer.
After the Civil War, circa 1868 the house was completed by it's new owner John Wilder.
Despite his oustanding career in preserving Savannah's Historic houses Jim Williams is possibly more well known for being the only person in the state of Georgia ever to be tried four times for the same crime - the alleged murder on May 2, 1981 of his assistant, Danny Lewis Hansford, in Williams's home, Mercer House.
He was finally acquitted of the charge and continued to live at Mercer House until his death in January 1990.

I'm sure some of you will already have read my second recommendation; "Midnight In The Garden Of Good and Evil" by John Berendt, aka "the Savannah book" a non-fiction account of this final chapter in the history of Mercer House and it's owner.
My third and final choice is "Savannah Style Mystery and Manners" by author Susan Sully, foreword written by MITGOGAE author John Berendt.

The book features 20 Historic houses such as the Second Empire Baroque Thomas Levy House

and the Lebanon Plantation.

QCI members and their invited guests will have the opportunity to tour both of these beautiful homes in October.
John Duncan owner of the Thomas Levy House sitting on the bed which previously belonged to Serena Dawes and now stands in his own bedroom.

In MITGOGAE John Berendt describes how after her husband Simon Dawes accidentally shot himself in the head Serena, (who Cecil Beaton had called "one of the most perfect natural beauties I've ever photographed") "spent most of her day in bed, holding court, drinking martinis and pink ladies, and playing with her white toy poodle, Lulu".

John Duncan will be a guest speaker at the QCI Meeting, he and his wife Ginger both had small roles in the movie of the book, produced by Clint Eastwood.
Here he is with actor John Cusack who played the part of author John Berendt.

QCI Meeting Update: the Registration Materials are in the mail!! That's right, Club Secretary Laverne mailed out all the necessary documents to all QCI members at the beginning of the week and they should be with you shortly.
If you have any queries regarding the meeting you can email your co-hosts at this address:
and we will do our very best to help.


  1. Maggie, good review. Looking forward to the meeting. ~ Sarah

  2. Hi, Maggie, that's a great idea to read up on Savannah, prior to the meeting. That always enhances travels to a new place! Thanks, Laverne

  3. We have toured the Mercer House! So mysterious w the murder there too! It was fun to watch midnight in the garden of good and evil again to see shots, also part of forrest gump was filmed in savannah...on the bench...Next time I want to stay at Hamilton Turner B & B. We also ate at the Pink House! Fabulous!!