In Cold Blood (1966) by Truman Capote is a superbly written true crime book. It is the second best-selling true crime book of all time.
The book is about the real-life murders of four members of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas in 1959 which were committed by Perry Smith and Richard Hickock. They murdered Herbert “Herb”, Bonnie, Nancy and Kenyon Clutter. Capote went to Kansas to interview investigators and residents with his friend fellow writer Harper Lee. He spent six years writing and researching the book.
It is a brilliant book. The book is very well researched, there is clearly an awful lot of research put into this book. Everything is very detailed from the town to the people in it. I think it was a different sort of approach which Capote took to this book than a writer who always or more often writes true crime or non-fiction. He brought his style of conversational, down-to-earthness to the book which is more suited to fiction generally but it totally works. There is a warmth to the way Capote writes about the people in the town and about the victims. He also helps us really get to know both the stories of the victims and the murderers. And though he tells the stories of the killers’ backgrounds, you never feel he is giving them any kind of excuses, even the slightest excuse, which was very admirable of him and unfortunately not always what happens.
It is obviously a very heavy book given what the book is about. Capote does not sensationalist nor does he leave out facts. He gives the whole picture of everyone involved and I think the way that facts even outside of the case are in this book like the personalities of the people and the lives of the people really makes the book the masterpiece it is. It is sad, gripping and very accurate. The mundane mixed with the cruelty of the murders gives readers a real sense of the reality of it and that something like this could happen to any of us.
A must-read. A truly amazing, amazing book.
To purchase In Cold Blood by Truman Capote go to:
And for more about Truman Capote and his work go to: