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In Cold Blood [Reading] ➹ In Cold Blood By Truman Capote – With the publication of this book Capote permanently ripped through the barrier separating crime reportage from serious literature As he reconstructs the 1959 murder of a Kansas farm family and the in With the publication of this book Capote permanently ripped through the barrier separating crime reportage from serious literature As he reconstructs the murder of a Kansas farm family and the investigation that led to the capture trial and execution of the killers Capote generates suspense and empathy.

10 thoughts on “In Cold Blood

  1. Jeffrey Keeten Jeffrey Keeten says:

    How much money did you get from the Clutters?Between forty and fifty dollars Top Picture Hickock Richard Eugene WM28 KBI 97 093; FBI 859 273 A Address Edgerton Kansas Birthdate 6 6 31 Birthplace KC Kans Height 5 10 Weight 175 Hair Blond Eyes Blue Build Stout Comp Ruddy Occup Car Painter Crime Cheat Defr Bad Checks Paroled 8 13 59 By So KCKBottom Picture Smith Perry Edward WM 27 59 Birthplace Nevada Height 5 4 Weight 156 Hair D Brn Crime BE Arrested blank By blank Disposition Sent KSP 3 13 56 from Phillips Co 5 10yrs Rec 3 14 56 Paroled 7 6 59As I write this review I'm sitting about 60 miles from the Clutter house in Holcomb Kansas Holcomb is a small farming community located just west of Garden City This is a place where everyone in the whole county not only knows your name but also has a working knowledge of your family history going back fifty plus years I usually avoid reading true crime books I don't want my head filled with tragedy I want to go about my life with a degree of caution but not be ruled by the fear I feel such books will instill I picked up a copy of this book at the Dodge City Library The librarian at the check out desk a woman about mid sixties slender elegant and still attractive ran her finger along the edge of the spine I noticed a shiver had rolled up her back and rippled her shoulders She looked up at me with pinched blue eyes and said in a whisper I remember when this happened She watched her father put locks on the doors for the first time The murders became a demarcation line in her life there was life before the Clutter murders and then there was life after the Clutter murders Her response surprised me We live in a time when any crime anywhere in the country is broadcast out to the nation and something tragic that happens in Illinois or in Virginia or Alaska impacts our lives I would have thought over time some of the significance of the Clutter murder would have been buried under the avalanche of murder and mayhem that the news cycle brings us 247 For this community and for all the small communities dotting the map of Kansas and even in the surrounding states this was something that wasn't supposed to happen in a small town This was big city crime that happened in their own backyard As I talked to people about the Clutter murders most everybody had some kind of physical reaction They flinched as if they were dodging a blow or took a step back from me or developed a twitch along their jawline Their eyes gazed through me or beyond me as the fears and anxieties of 1959 came flooding back into their mind Most of them attributed deaths to the crime each of them citing six deaths rather than four I'm sure they remembered that there was six family members but two older girls had already left the home to start their own lives They were not present on that fateful night when their family was murdered In Cold Blood was reuired reading in many schools in this region clear up until about the 1970s so even people who were too young to remember the crime have experienced the tragedy through Truman Capote In the description above regarding Perry Edward Smith there is a reference to Phillips County This has special significance for me because I was born and raised in Phillips County The family farm is located in Phillips County My Father and I graduated from Phillipsburg High School My Dad was a sopho in high school in 1955 when Perry Smith decided to burglarize the Chandler Sales Company in Phillipsburg Kansas and this seemingly insignificant act was really the beginning of this story Smith and his accomplice also Smith stole typewriters adding machines etc and left town with their ill gotten goods in the backseat of the car Later they ignored a traffic signal in St Joseph Missouri and were pulled over by a police officer The cop was very interested in what was in their backseat They were extradited back to Phillipsburg where through an open window imagine my embarrassment for the law enforcement of my home county they escaped Later Perry was caught again and sent back to Phillipsburg where the law enforcement fortunately did a much better job of keeping track of him Perry Smith received 10 years in the Kansas Penitentiary in Leavenworth Richard Eugene Hickock was already serving time in Leavenworth for fraud The two met and became friends The final piece to the puzzle that not only determined the fate of the Clutter family but also the fates of Smith and Hickock was snapped down in place when they meet Floyd Wells Wells serving time for some bit of stupidity had worked for Herb Clutter back in 1948 He told Hickock and Smith that Clutter was a wealthy farmer and kept a safe full of cash in his house Wells was absolutely full of shit There was no safe There was no pile of cash There was absolutely no reason for four people to lose their lives for 40 After the murders they went to Mexico for a while but even though they could live cheaply down South the money still trickled through their fingers After they burned through the goods they had acuired through the Clutter robbery and through defrauding a series of retail stores they found that working in Mexico didn't pay well either They came back up to the United States and there was this baffling moment where Perry Smith is reading the paper and sees an article about a family that was tied up and shot to death Amazing Perry glanced through the article again Know what I wouldn't be surprised? If this wasn't done by a lunatic Some nut that read about what happened out in Kansas WTF? Some nut? How about the original coconut heads that murdered the family in Kansas? Perry does have a moment or two where he weighs what happened in Kansas Know what I think? said Perry I think there must be something wrong with us To do what we didDid what?Out thereDeal me out baby Dick said I'm a normalTruman Capote had been looking for the right story for an experimental form of writing he'd been considering trying He wanted to blend fiction and nonfiction The Clutter murders struck him as the perfect story to launch this new form of writing I have to admire his fortitude for a man of his sensibilities not only spending that much time among farmbillies but having to befriend them as well It must have been somewhat of a painful experience Capote in the Clutter homeFloyd Wells eventually comes forward and tells what he knows about the murders He had always liked Herb Clutter and felt ashamed that what he had told in a moment of prison bonding had led to such a vicious conclusion Without his statement I'm pretty sure that Smith and Hickock would have gotten away with the murders The slender evidence tying them to the murders would have made it almost impossible to prosecute them Their sentencing can have only one conclusiondeath As they are being led back to their cells Smith says to Hickock No chicken hearted jurors they They both laughed loudly and a cameraman photographed them The picture appeared in a Kansas paper above a caption entitled The Last Laugh?When I consider their bravado the last vestiges of any sympathy I may have been harboring for their plight dissipated This is a beautifully written book I want to thank Harper Lee for her role in helping Capote bring this book to completion I'm not sure Capote would have had the perseverance to see it through without her holding his hand I was surprised about how many connections I have to the events in this book many of which I had no idea until I read them in the book for the first time I was long overdue to read this book and this experience has certainly convinced me to add of the classic True Crime genre to my reading ueue This book is legendary not only because of the heinous nature of the crime but also because Capote was ushering in a new way to tell a story If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visithttpwwwjeffreykeetencomI also have a Facebook blogger page at

  2. Michael Finocchiaro Michael Finocchiaro says:

    I just wonder why it took me so long to get this masterpiece on my currently reading shelf What a breathtaking story And told in the most amazing novelistic style The cold blooded murders in Kansas in 1956 is described by a cold distant narrator via the interviews of the family acuaintances and community around the victims and the hair raising stories of Perry and Bobby the murderers It is a real page turner I couldn't put it down The descriptions of the youth of all the tragic protagonists are explored from every angle as under a magnifying glass In Cold Blood kept me thinking that most of the recent murder mystery shows and movies were indebted to this piece of literature that Capote probably deserved a Pulitzer for but was passed over helas in 1965 There is this strange homoeroticism between the two murderers who call each other sugar and honey but who both spout homophobic words throughout Like the lawyers I felt Richard was the coldest one and Perry the most twisted and tragic This book is a true masterpiece of the non fiction novel even if some of the facts brought out by Capote were disputed and its narration is stupendous in character development and maintaining an enormous amount of suspense end to end It is even astounding because the reader already knows who commits the crime the novel only elucidates the why and even that is ambiguous and pathetic An awesome readNote that in A Capote Reader there is a great short essay about the making of the movie In Cold Blood where Capote talks a bit about the 6 years it took him to write this masterpiece Haven't seen the movie yet UPDATE I finally saw the movie Capote and it was absolutely amazing as a backstory to this book I still haven't found the movie In Cold Blood yet

  3. Will Byrnes Will Byrnes says:

    Truman Capote image from the NY Post This is one of the great ones Capote blankets Holcomb Kansas with his curiosity The root of this work is a ghastly crime Two recently released convicts seeking a fortune that did not exist invade the Clutter family home tie up the four family members present and leave no witnesses It takes some time for the perpetrators to be identified then tracked down Capote looks at how the townspeople react to this Many fearful that one of their own was responsible become withdrawn How do people mourn? He looks at the seuence of investigation that leads ultimately to the capture of the suspects focusing on one of the chief investigators He looks in depth at the criminals What makes them tick? How could people do such awful things? In reading this I was reminded of some of the great panoramic art works of a bygone age works by Bosch Breughel in which entire towns were brought together into one wide screen image This is what Capote has done But even with all the territory he covers there is considerable depth I was also reminded for an entirely different reason of Thomas Hardy Capote has an incredible gift for language He writes beautifully offering descriptions that can bring to tears anyone who truly loves language It has the power of poetry This is truly a classic a book that defined a new genre of literature If you haven’t read it you mustMurderers Dick Hickock and Perry Smith image from ABC AustraliaIn case you are in the market and in the neighborhood this 102419 item from SF Gate by Clare Trapasso might be of interest The Untold Story Behind the Infamous 'In Cold Blood' Murder House—and Why It's for Sale

  4. David Putnam David Putnam says:

    This story made a huge impact on my life There were six of us kids and come summer my mother couldn't handle all of us so she farmed me out every year to the aunts One aunt lived in Indio My mother put me on a Greyhound bus and nine years old; all alone with my brown paper grocery bag as luggage I was scared to death A Seagull hit the expansive windshield with splat of blood and feathers Unfazed the driver merely turned on the windshield wipers and made and even bigger messI arrived in Indio a hundred plus degrees and my aunt Carol picked me up at the bus station She said she was taking me and my cousin Danny to the movies Oh boy I loved the movies We stopped at a store to pick up some candy and I bought my favorite Chicken O stick I was nine my cousin was seven she bought our tickets at The Aztec theater and ushered us through the door She said she'd be back when the movie was over It was nice to be out of the sweltering heat We sat down ate our candy in great anticipation The movie started and it was in black and white It was In Cold Blood not something a nine year old should be watchingTen years later my cousin Danny and my Aunt Carol would be arrested for killing my favorite uncle Don in a murder for hire My aunt hired a hit man out of Orange County named Cornelius They stiffed in a fake call of an emergency at the Metropolitan Water Distinct where my uncle worked There was a clause in the life insurance policy that if he died at work it was double indemnity My uncle showed up in the middle of the night and they shot him in the back of the head Of course there is lots to this true storyAnd to this day I can not forget In Cold Blood the movieSorry for the rant this was supposed to be a book reviewDavid Putnam Author of the Bruno Johnson series

  5. megs_bookrack megs_bookrack says:

    An absolute masterpiece of True Crime literature; gritty and intelligentThis should be on everyone's 'books to read in a lifetime' list The writing style of this account is absolutely flawless As many of you may know In Cold Blood is a true account of the heinous murders of the Clutter Family in 1959 Kansas Through Capote's words you are transported to this small town; you get alternating accounts from the family the killers and from other individuals close to the crime The description of the night of the actual murders is bone chilling and can disturb sleep believe me This is my second time reading this book and I found it just as impactful during my reread To me it is interesting to think about Capote investigating and compiling his research for the novel He actually went and lived in this town along with one of his closest friends Harper Lee and they painstakingly interviewed hundreds of people associated with the events Just the sheer amount of data collected and how it was intricately woven into a cohesive narrative astounds meYes I know that is what nonfiction novelists do but this was truly a ground breaking piece of journalistic writing at the time and should be appreciated as suchAnother interesting aspect of this is how focused Capote was in the psychology behind the killers' motivations and actions as well as their complex relationship with one another both before and after the crimes Ahead of his time in that regard in my opinionI think anyone who enjoys True Crime Criminology Psychology and even Sociology will find this book absolutely captivating If you have been putting off reading this for any reason please stop pick it up NOW

  6. Brina Brina says:

    In Cold Blood is the new school classics selection in the group catching up on classics for November 2016 Having read Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's recently and enjoying his writing I could not wait to read this nonfiction thriller in advance of the upcoming group read Writing in his relaxing southern style Capote turns a horrid crime into a story to make the how's and whys accessible to the average American It is in this regard that I rate this thrilling classic five stars On November 15 1959 Richard Dick Hickock and Perry Smith on a tip from another inmate brutally murdered four members of the Clutter family of Holcomb Kansas Having heard that the Clutters possessed either a safe or 10000 cash in their home Smith and Hickock desired this wealth for themselves so that they could live out their days in a Mexican beach resort To their surprise and chagrin the Clutters did not have neither the safe nor the cash but Hickock had said to leave no witnesses Crime committed the pair escaped to a life of continued crimes and violence and believing that authorities would never catch up with them And in the beginning it appeared that this ill advised lifestyle might actually work Due to the relentless work of the Kansas Bureau of Investigations KBI lead by Alvin Dewey Hickock and Smith were eventually brought to justice and ultimately given the death penalty Capote weaves a tale by giving us the backstory of both felons as well as a picture of Holcomb and nearby Garden City Kansas as an idyllic place to raise a family The crime changed everything Families kept their doors locked and did not allow their children to venture far from home In the surrounding areas people viewed their lives as a before and after Inevitably the Clutter case lead to less community interaction and a beginning of a breakdown of society Yet by providing the backstories of the felons Capote allows the the readers to emphasize with their place in society Dick Hickock was on his way to finishing at the top of his class with a possible athletic scholarship and a degree in engineering His family could not afford a university education even with the scholarship so Hickock went to work An automobile accident left him partially brain damaged as his parents maintained that he was not the same person since and this one incident lead to his adult life of crime Smith on the other hand lead a bleak childhood to the point where readers would feel sorry for him Coming from a fractured family and only a third grade education Smith suffered from a superiority complex his entire life His role in the Clutter murders was the consummation of a lifetime of rejection The felons came from diametrically opposed upbringings and yet I was left feeling remorse for both Capote pieced together the crime to the point where I felt that I knew the people of Holcomb as well as the principal players in the crime intimately This work lead to a new genre that brings together nonfiction and fiction in a way that history feels like a story Both Capote and his research assistant Harper Lee ended up as award winning authors Their fictional writing skills allowed for the personalization of this tale and ultimately help change the way many write nonfiction Truman Capote is one of 20th America's master storytellers and In Cold Blood is by many considered his opus His research was detail oriented and allowed him to bring the story of the Clutter murders to the average American home After completing this five star work painting the picture of the how's and whys of murder I look forward to reading of his charming Southern stories

  7. Ahmad Sharabiani Ahmad Sharabiani says:

    In Cold Blood Truman CapoteThis article is about the book by Truman Capote In Cold Blood is a non fiction novel by American author Truman Capote first published in 1966; it details the 1959 murders of four members of the Herbert Clutter family in the small farming community of Holcomb Kansas When Capote learned of the uadruple murder before the killers were captured he decided to travel to Kansas and write about the crime He was accompanied by his childhood friend and fellow author Harper Lee and together they interviewed local residents and investigators assigned to the case and took thousands of pages of notes The killers Richard Dick Hickock and Perry Smith were arrested six weeks after the murders and later executed by the state of Kansas Capote ultimately spent six years working on the book When finally published In Cold Blood was an instant success and today is the second biggest selling true crime book in publishing history behind Vincent Bugliosi's 1974 book Helter Skelter about the Charles Manson murdersعنوانها «به خونسردی»؛ «به خونسردی شرح واقعی قتل چهار نفر و پی آمدهای آن»؛ «در کمال خونسردی»؛ نویسنده ترومن کاپوتی؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز هفدهم ماه سپتامبر سال 1998میلادیعنوان به خونسردی؛ نویسنده ترومن کاپوت؛ مترجم باهره راسخ؛ تهران، فرانکلین، 1347، در 345ص، موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی سده 20معنوان به خونسردی شرح واقعی قتل چهار نفر و پی آمدهای آن؛ نویسنده ترومن کاپوتی؛ مترجم پریوش شهامت؛ تهران، نشر پیکان، 1376، در 467ص؛ شابک 9646229123؛داستان برگرفته از خبری واقعی، از قتل‌عام یک خانواده، در کانزاس است، و همین رویداد به نویسنده فرصت می‌دهد، تا نخستین رمان غیرداستانی خویش را بنویسند؛ نویسنده زمان بسیاری را صرف گفتگو، با «شاهدان»، «دو قاتل»، و «بررسی گزارش پلیس»، می‌کند؛ کتابش در سال 1965میلادی، با تیراژی میلیونی برایش شهرت، موفقیت و ثروت به همراه می‌آورد؛ با این کتاب به اوج می‌رسد، و نمی‌تواند هرگزی کتاب دیگری در همین اندازه بنویسد؛ زندگینامه نویسش «جرالد کلارک»، علت را زمان طولانی پژوهش، و خستگی ناشی از کار سنگین ایشان می‌داند؛ تاری بهنگام رسانی 27061399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا شربیانی

  8. Justin Justin says:

    At the beginning In Cold Blood reads like a classic southern gothic tale I've read about Harper Lee hanging out with Capote while he put this thing together and at times it feels like she greatly influenced how it was written You meet the Clutters who are just the nicest people in the world out working hard and going to school and being awesome people in the town And I know there's all this controversy over how the book is written since it adds fictional conversations and thoughts that Capote obviously couldn't have known but everything is rooted in the nonfiction account of what happened and I think it adds a deeper layer of connection to the family I read Helter Skelter in high school and I remember that book starting out right from the gate with all the details of the murders before diving into the Manson family and the trial In Cold Blood works in reverse and saves the details for later and my God when I got there I didn't even want to read about what happened It was all so senseless and random I had a hard time finishing the book after that I just wanted it to be over Often beautifully and brilliantly written sometimes tedious to get through sometimes way too meticulous with details sometimes spending a couple of pages discussing cats or a building or something this book is a classic in the true crime genre I haven't read a lot of true crime in my reading life but I've read enough to know that this deserves a spot at the top of the list Capote does an excellent job laying out the story and gives the family the murderers and the cops an overwhelming amount of description and development I knew about the killers than I ever wanted to know and I want things to go a different direction even though I knew they wouldn't Now I have to watch the movie then Capote then Infamous This is a story that will be stuck in my head for a while It's a harsh reminder of the evil that exists in the world and how fragile our existence on this planet really is It's also a very detailed account of the senseless murder of most of a family but I took away a lot of other stuff from its pages too Read it

  9. J.L. Sutton J.L. Sutton says:

    A seminal work for the nonfiction novel and the true crime genre Truman Capote's In Cold Blood stands apart from most of its literary descendants Not only is it compelling and suspenseful even when you know like many crime dramatizations what's going to happen it's also very well written In fact its literary uality gives In Cold Blood a dimension which few other nonfiction novels will match The evolution of the form since In Cold Blood is nothing short of astonishing It makes you appreciate how different the experience of reading the book is now compared to when the book was published Yet it is not a stuffy classic This work made the world safe for nonfiction Definitely worth reading

  10. Amy Galaviz Amy Galaviz says:

    After I read it I looked up pictures of the Clutter family and just stared for about five minutes They endured what is probably everyone’s worst fearHaving never heard anything of the Clutter murders prior to reading this book the experience of reading it was intense gripping and suspenseful from beginning to end Capote with his impartial writing style relayed facts and details in such a way as to give a complete character illustration of everyone involved from each of the Clutters to the investigators lawyers and even the murderers themselves He did not reveal his personal sentiments or biases or even presume to know right from wrong In what he coined a “non fiction novel” Capote brilliantly combined the elements of a fictional murder novel with factual journalism and psychological analysis to show the moral dilemmas surrounding the act of murderIn the section about the Clutter family life during their final days before the murders Capote’s description of their daily routines and habits made what was to come even troubling Nancy and Kenyon were going through the typical hardships of adolescence; Nancy had a boyfriend of whom her father did not approve and was the most popular girl in school while Kenyon was self conscious nerdy and socially awkward Herbert and Bonnie’s marriage was a bit shaky; Bonnie had a mysterious and fleeting mental illness and Herbert was very busy with his farming business and did not have much time to tend to her However despite their problems they maintained a strong family bond were well liked by the entire community and we get a sense that things were looking up for themAfter the murder takes place as if to intensify the suspense Capote does not immediately reveal to us exactly how or why Perry and Dick committed the crime but instead takes us on their journey as they attempt escape through the deep South while the investigators begin to try to solve the crime We learn much about these two characters through their interactions with each other letters diary excerpts and interviews with family members We are brought deep into their psyche learning everything from their personal hygiene habits to their mannerisms and uirks In an uncomfortable yet brilliant way Capote allows us to sympathize with the murderers if only for a moment What exactly went wrong with them? Did Perry Smith’s childhood of abuse neglect and displacement lead him to have moments of extreme callousness and violence? Dick who had a seemingly normal childhood and a loving family was in a car accident which left him with a permanent head injury Was his head injury the cause of his downfall or was it some other unknown character defect? Even though they were capable of evil and cold heartedness they also had goals and insecurities as well as the capacity for creativity love and fear The murders were a tragic “psychological accident” according to Alvin Dewey the collision of two personalities gone terribly wrong with an innocent family who was in the wrong situation at the wrong timeThe final section of the book from their first of many trials to their execution presents us with the moral dilemmas surrounding the punishment of crime Capote does not make any definitive conclusions but poses many uestions Is execution right or wrong? Why the long delay approx 6 years between the guilty verdict and the execution? Was a fair trial possible or necessary given the horrific nature of the crimes committed? It is impossible to summarize the impact of this book in a few paragraphs but it will definitely stay with me for years to come

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