In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood

4.1 594
by Truman Capote
     
 

ISBN-10: 0141182571

ISBN-13: 2900141182574

Pub. Date: 02/03/2000

Publisher: Gardners Books

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

Five years, four months and twenty-nine days later, on April 14, 1965, Richard Eugene Hickock, aged…  See more details below

Overview

On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

Five years, four months and twenty-nine days later, on April 14, 1965, Richard Eugene Hickock, aged thirty-three, and Perry Edward Smith, aged thirty-six, were hanged from the crime on a gallows in a warehouse in the Kansas State Penitentiary in Lansing, Kansa.

In Cold Blood is the story of the lives and deaths of these six people. It has already been hailed as a masterpiece.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2900141182574
Publisher:
Gardners Books
Publication date:
02/03/2000
Edition description:
New

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In Cold Blood 4.1 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 594 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have given this title five stars because the five stars represent an 'outstanding' work. In Cold Blood is certainly that an outstanding work. However, there was little to enjoy but the style, the pure ease at which this tale stretches its legs in your imagination and makes itself at home...A little too at home. I am haunted by this, Mr. Capote's masterpiece. The sheer omniscience which Mr. Capote achieved through so many hours, days, months, years of research bring to the page the godlike perspective one expects from a well crafted work of fiction. While I have heard from some sources that this work was embellished, I am hard pressed to believe that the core tale is any way affected by fabrications. Reader beware you shall know know both slayer and slain. And, if in the end you put this down untouched, unmoved, unshaken, I hope to God that you just didn't understand it. Consider this review both a reccomendation, and a warning.
Irina_28 More than 1 year ago
November 14, 1959 started out as an ordinary Saturday morning; running errands, working on the ranch and baking apple pies. The Clutters were well known in Holcomb, Kansas. Holcomb being a small town, it's inhabitants knew everything about eachother, for example how Mrs. Clutter suffered from "nervous episodes" and how Nancy and Bobby Rupp have been dating for some time now. That same day, Dick Hickock and Perry Smith were planning a "score." Sunday morning, four bodies were discovered in the Clutter's house: Herb Clutter, Bonnie Clutter, Nancy Clutter and Kenyon Clutter. All were murdered by a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. The shocking deaths became the headlines of every newspaper and magazine. Rumors started, panic rose, paranoia struck. Meanwhile, Perry and Dick escaped and were trying to fulfill their dreams in Mexico. After some failures and money problems, they returned to the states. A former inmate of Dick and Perry hears of the murders and turns them in. The hunt is on. When they both were found, they were questioned and eventually sentenced to death. This "true account" is a never ending battle between man verses man verses self. A major theme is the idea of the American Dream. Herb Clutter lived what seemed a perfect life, "He was, however, the community's most widely known citizen...he had headed the building committee for the newly completed First Methodist Church...was currently chairman of the Kansas Conference of Farm Organizations, and his name was everywhere respectfully recognized..." (Capote 6). He had power, money, a beautiful family, happines and respect. This story just puts a twist on the American Dream; it can't be fulfilled in this blood thirsty world. My favorite part of the book was getting into the criminals' heads. Just knowing the little things that made Perry who he was, made the story that more real, "On the cover of the second notebook, the handwriting of which he was so proud, a script abounding in curly, feminine flourishes, proclaimed the contents to be "The Private Diary of Perry Edward Smith"- an inaccurate description, for it was not in the least a diary but, rather, a form of anthology consisting of obscure facts, poems and literary quotations, and passages for newspapers and books paraphrased or quoted" (Capote 146). I really enjoyed reading about the thought processes of Perry. It's easy to tell that Truman Capote took an interest in Perry's life, and really analyzed him well. I also loved the amount of detail Capote put into his research and eventually, the novel; his writing sucks you in and makes you experience every bit of the situations. I don't think there was anything I didn't like about this book, whether it was, Capote's writing style or the characters in it, i loved it all. In Cold Blood first and foremost, just makes you realize how far the human mind can really take you, secondly, how no one is innocent, thirdly, sometimes the world is not just, but someone has to pay, and finally, Capote makes you realize that anything can happen in this world...
Guest More than 1 year ago
In Cold Blood is one if not the best true crime books I ever read. The way Truman Capote describes the murders. It made me feel that I was there with that poor family. It is always interesting to me everytime I read it to decide what I would do if I was with The Clutter family to try to escape from Richard Eugene Hickcok and Perry Smith's muderous rath. It is trully a chilling masterpiece. I loved every minute reading it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In Cold Blood is a book by Truman Capote and is widely regarded as his most famous novel. Capote had read about the Clutter murders and wanted to write an exciting nonfiction novel, so he set out on a five-year journey to write this book. In Cold Blood is also widely regarded as one of the best true crime novels that has ever been written. It details on the true story of the brutal murder of the Kansas Clutter family in 1959 at the hands of Dick Hickock and Perry Edward Smith. Capote uses and incredible amount of figurative language and advanced writing techniques to make you feel that you are inside the book. He really goes into depth on the character¿s back stories to make sure that you know everything about them some of these parts however were somewhat dull and made me wonder why they were included in the book at all. He makes some strange contrasts also that make you wonder what he is getting onto, like comparing a sweet and caring girl to that tattoos that the killers have on their arms. He also makes sure that he sheds light meticulously on everything to make sure you know what is going on, even then however the story is somewhat hard to hold onto as Capote has many storylines going on at once. Capote did succeed immensely with creating suspense in the novel. You can really tell when it¿s about to get interesting because the pace of the novel is sped up and the text gains a strange air about it. The novel begins right as Dick and Perry take a long road trip across the state to where the Clutters live, hoping to get to a hidden safe inside their house. They don¿t find the safe, but they do end up taking the lives of the whole Clutter family without a tiny bit of remorse. The book concludes at the murderer¿s execution at the hands of the Kansas police. In Cold Blood is a spiraling rollercoaster ride that has you hanging on for dear life 'or understanding' throughout the book. It is a fantastic read for somebody who is into detective novels and complicated storylines. It also shows no mercy to the squeamish and impressionable, but if you can able to handle it, then I would say that it is a must for anyone who wants a long and interesting ride.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having never read anything by Truman Capote and after seeing the Oscar-nominated 'Capote,' I was inspired to pick up (finally) IN COLD BLOOD. I was a bit annoyed by Capote's personality in the movie and realized that I could have never stood to be in the same room with him because his self-love would have drive me crazy. I didn't let that stop me from purchasing the book, though, as I had heard good things about his writing and his 'masterpiece.' I've often been disappointed by books, but finished them to completion for the sake of not jumping to conclusions. Unfortunately, this is one book that I had to stop halfway through because, again, Capote's personality seemed to be shining through and I was getting annoyed. I know I'm going against the grain of many critics, educators, and readers alike, but I was not enjoying one bit of my reading experience. I found his writing to be the rambling of a man who couldn't keep one consistent thought going (perhaps it was the alcohol?). It was like reading a stream of consciousness that wasn't going anywhere. His thoughts jumped from past to present and back again without any cohesiveness. Halfway through the book, I was still unfamiliar with the 'characters' and much of their personalities. If it gets better in the second half of the book, I'll never know. Go ahead...give me a poor rating for my review. Just giving my opinion as a reader of many quality classic and modern books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The brutal murder of the Clutter family was the news story of the day in November 1959. Newspapers carried the story and people discussed the details at the barber shop and over coffee at the local cafe. It was especially alarming because this was a well-known and well-liked family in the community. Who could be safe if the Clutters produced two suspects: Perry Smith and Richard Hickock.Truman Capote is captivated by the story and decides to write what he calls a 'nonfiction novel.' The book is the result of five years of research. The story had to be more than intresting than newspaper articles. It had to show the human side of the killers as well as the Clutters. The story weaves back and forth between the two making it sometimes difficult to follow. The book is excellent and worth the time to read. I highly recommend it.
Nick34 More than 1 year ago
Before reading this book I had never heard of Holcomb, KS or the Clutter family. I had never heard of Richard Hickock or Perry Smith either. But after reading this masterpiece I fell like I was right there along side all of them back when this took place. This is an awesome book and you can cleary see how it affected Capote.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this is a really awsome book... I was really into it. I had to read it for my Junior AP English class and I hardly ever get even half through with any of the books assigned in that class, but this time I actually did and I enjoyed it. Highly recomended, very suspensful. I read it in two days!
Guest More than 1 year ago
¿In Cold Blood¿ has been seen as one of the best nonfiction murder stories for the past forty years. Truman Capote wrote a griping tale of a Kansas farmer and his loving family who were brutally murdered on November 15th, 1959. Dick Hickock and Perry Smith were two former convicts who had recently been released on parole. Both men made then journey to Holcomb, Kansas that November evening hoping to become ten thousand dollars richer. However, when they found no safe holding the loot, Mr. Clutter and his family paid with their lives. After years of searching the men were finally apprehended in Las Vegas and put to death on April 14th, 1965. This book has you on the edge of your seat to the very last page. The way the book is laid out for the reader is what keeps it interesting. Capote moves back in forth between scenes with the Clutter family and scenes with Dick and Perry. Capote uses great description when it comes to the characters, making it so the reader can really get to know each one. His scenes are very detailed, making it easy as a reader to picture things in your mind. Overall I enjoyed ¿In Cold Blood.¿ No scenes were too graphic and the most important thing was that it kept me interested. If you are looking for a good murder story, then ¿In Cold Blood¿ is a must read.
janhig More than 1 year ago
Somehow, I just never got around to reading this, but now that I have, I understand why it made such a stir when it was first published. Despite the horror of these senseless killings. Capote has helped us understand the perpetrators as broken human beings whose lives had caused irreversible damage, including the loss of a moral compass. It's great fodder for a book club discussion. If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having recently watched the excellent movie Capote about the writing of In Cold Blood, I decided to read the book, and I am glad I did. Capote's book defined the true crime genre with excellent writing, meticulous research, and an even-handed approach toward the perpetrators of a senseless, violent crime that shocked rural Kansas. Although Capote identified strongly with (and may have been somewhat attracted to) Perry Smith who actually killed the Clutter family, I was not sympathetic to Smith or his partner Dick Hickock in the least. The detail in the setting that Capote provides often drags the narrative down a bit, but it pays off by giving you the feeling that you are witnessing the events unfold first-hand. Patience is rewarded for those who appreciate excellent writing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was by far one of the best books I have ever read.The way Truman Capote explains and meshes in each character in the book was the best part. You could just smell and feel the warmth of the Clutter home, the fresh farm air, the coziness of the farm home.Until their murderers came along and you smell the fresh scent of gun powder and senseless violence.He weaves a tale that is as fascinating as it is true.A definite read, a true classic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the sixties after reading an article about the multiple murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas, writer Truman Capote went to investigate. The product of his six years of research, interviews, and investigation was released in his book, In Cold Blood. In Cold Blood is a book with many different angles and ideas. The book was at the forefront of a new genre known as New Journalism, in which true events are treated in a fictional way. Capote's book is one of the most fascinating and intelligent true-crime books ever written. In his book, Capote gives his readers a behind the scenes look at the Clutter family. He lets you get to know Herb Clutter who is undyingly devoted to his invalid wife, Bonnie. You soon feel close to the two teenage children, Kenyon and Nancy who are polite, good students with good values. Right when you start to fall in love with this family living the American dream, Capote takes his readers on a journey that begins with the family's murders and ends only with the deaths of their two killers, Dick Hickock and Perry Smith. Throughout the remarkable story Capote's keen sense of detail and description puts the audience in the story and allows them to see it from all angles. Not only to you read about the murder, but also how it affected the family and friends of the Clutters, the killers, the detectives who work diligently, and the whole tiny town that was shocked into terror. The best aspect of Capote's book and the most attacked is his account on the killers. He tells his readers of whom Hickock and Smith are, what they grew up like, and how they feel and think. He also tells of the effect the tragedy has on the town, who in the midst of a nightmare found themselves distrusting their own neighbors. It is an honest and eye-opening account on how tragedy affects people. Capote's story is chilling mostly because it is true. That there are people like Hickock and Smith and no matter where you live, tragedy can strike you in the "safest" of towns. Capote really did spend years of research and getting to know all the people involved. It is an amazing and detailed account of murder, but can get a little too wordy. Unfortunately, Capote uses too many journalistic techniques at times and goes off into unimportant facts and data. These tangents can get quite annoying, especially when you just want to hear what is going on. However, Capote makes up for his innumerable facts by his keen detail and engaging style that makes it almost impossible to put this book down. It is truly a gem and I recommend it to all that are interested.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The non-fiction novel, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote details about the brutal murders of the Clutter family in Holcomb Kansas, in 1959. Mr. and Mrs. Clutter and their two teenage children were cruelly killed by Dick Hickock and Perry Smith with no apparent motive. Because the killers leave behind a few clues, the KBI leader Alvin Dewey has a very difficult time finding the criminals. Throughout the story the protagonist Alvin Dewey searches for the motive and criminals who committed the sadistic murder. On the other hand, the criminals are on the run hoping that they will not get caught. Truman Capote’s purpose in writing this non-fiction novel is to challenge the government about the death penalty if the person’s mental state is unstable. “[…] when Smith attacked Mr. Clutter, he was under a mental eclipse, deep inside a schizophrenic darkness” (302). Obviously the author is not trying to justify the murder, but this quote shows that Perry was at an unstable mental state when he killed Clutter family. Also, “[…] my mother put me to stay in a Catholic orphanage. The one where the Black Widows were always at me. Hitting me. Because of wetting the bed. Which is one reason I have an aversion to nuns. And God. And religion” (132). This quote shows Perry is a victim of terrible child abuse. The author may be trying to tell the readers that Perry's unstable mental state and horrifying behaviors are affected by the abuse during his childhood. “In summary, he shows fairly typical characteristics of what would psychiatrically be called a severe character disorder. […] It might have substantially influenced his behavior during the past several years and at the time of the crime” (295). This quote displays that Dick has a severe character disorder, and his mentality is very unstable during the murder and robbery. So the question is.. if they get caught, should they be sentenced to death? Another reason Capote wrote this non-fiction novel was to inform us about the different minds of the criminals. “’Know what I think?’ said Perry. ‘I think there must be something wrong with us. To do what we did’” (108). This quote informs us that Perry was regretting the crime that they committed. “Why the hell couldn’t Perry shut up? […] Especially since they’d agreed, sort of, not to talk about the thing. Just forget it” (108). On the contrary, this quote shows that Dick was trying to forget all about the crime and showed no signs of regret. The author reveals very well about the minds of criminals throughout the book. Without giving away the ending, I thought the novel; In Cold Blood was a page turner because this book reads like a fiction mystery building tension and wanting me to keep reading. “[…] I’ll wager whoever did it was someone within ten miles of where we stand. Approximately four hundred miles east of where Arthur Clutter stood, two young men were sharing a booth in the Eagle Buffet” (88-89). I thought this quote well-displayed suspense because while reading the passage, I thought, 'Will they really get away with their crime?' This made me very curious, so I just kept on reading in order to find out. In addition, I liked this book because of the author’s use of imagery. “She was lying on her side, facing the wall, and the wall was covered in blood” (62). Although the descriptions were gory, I loved the fact that I could picture the wall covered in red blood and the dead victim. I felt like I was actually seeing the body, blood, and wall. Moreover, “the land is flat, and the views are awesomely extensive; horses, herds of cattle, a white cluster of grain elevators rising as gracefully as Greek temples are visible long before a traveler reaches them" (3). This quote displays the description of the land of the town Holcomb. Again I love this quote because I can picture a bunch of cows munching away on the grass and grains so tall that they can reach the sky. On the contrary, there was something I did not like about this book. Capote spent a lot of pages to describe many characters but did not talk about all of them. “Special Agents Harold Nye, Roy Church, and Clarence Duntz” (80). This quote states there were three other agents working on the case with Alvin Dewey, but Capote did not talk a lot about their point of views, except for their theories on the murder. Also for some reason, Capote gave us far more detail about Perry Smith than Dick Hickock. I wanted to understand more about Dick. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to others who like crime stories because I think In Cold Blood is better than many other fictional crime novels I have read. I was actually caught up from beginning to end.
KLA44 More than 1 year ago
Interesting but tedious to read. As a true crime fan, it was was worth the read. Especially considering the historical factors. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not one who reads a lot of true crime stories, but I'd heard so many good things about this book over the years that I just had to give In Cold Blood a shot. If nothing else I just wanted to know what all the hype was about! This was not an easy read. I found myself interested in both the Clutter family and the men that murdered them. The ease at which Capote pulls you into the story is so amazing considering the topic is so awful. You already know what happens and yet you still can't put it down. There are a million reviews out there for this book, so I won't try to live up to them. I will simply say to you, read this book. Just read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having met members of the clutter family and seeing how the murders still devastates the family to this day, this book is a good one to inform u of what happened so u can just maybe understand their grief.
Larry45 More than 1 year ago
One of the great books of the 20th century.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fascinating tale of a murder which was shocking because it was in a place and time where such things just were not supposed to happen. Truman Capote followed the story from the beginning of the murders to the end of final justice, travelling wherever the story led, interviewing everyone who had any knowledge of the people or the crimes. Capote himself said he would not write another such book because of the incredible emotional drain. If you like detail, descriptions and explanations, you will love this book. If you like stories trimmed to essentials, you will probably find it a slow read. T.C. writes of the Clutters so you feel you know them. He writes of Hickcock and Smith so that you can follow the chain of events before and after the crime. The lives and deaths of a Kansas farm family will not be forgotten.
alexphilAU More than 1 year ago
Herb Clutter, was a prosperous farmer in Holcomb, KS in the 1950's. After graduating from the University of Kansas, Herb saw his way into farming in which he made tremendous success. His wife, Bonnie Fox, a classmate's sister and four kids were very supportive in all his endeavors. He was a very active member of the local Baptist church in his area. He has actually given a lot to the construction of the church edifice that stands to this day. His two children were away in the city one was studying in Kansas City and another has a family i n southern Illinois. One Saturday night in mid November of 1959, after his daughter Nancy's boyfriend left. Two intruders came into the house asking for money. Unluckily, Herb Clutter has been using cheques in all his money transactions in order to keep tract of all his financial ins and outs. There was no money in the house as the intruders believed. They thought the Clutters keep a money vault at home as they have been well to do and very financially stable at that time. After some negotiations, the Clutter family was able to raise all the money they have at home at that time, which amounted only to $50 (some in coins). At this the intruders fell into rage and slid a knife into Herb Clutter's throat as he lay near the furnace in the underground room of the house. His son, Kenyon, who was tied to a cushioned seat two meters away was shot in the head after a few minutes. Then his daughter Nancy was shot a few inches away from her head while lying in her bed, and finally his wife, Bonnie was the last to be shot in the head by the intruders, Perry Smith and Richard Hickock. These two criminals were eventually hanged after five years in prison, to serve their death sentence. truman Cappote, the author was there to witness the event. This book is best for those who like to read real thrilling true stories as well as biographies. Truman Capote's prose is so vivid that you can smell blood and hear the shotgun as it fired the shots to the poor family members of the Clutter family. There is a chapter where Capote was describing the cherry pie baking in the oven by Nancy and it really sends the reader to heights as it is very clearly described. Your mouth waters and could see the bubbly pie baking in the oven. Capote has indeed made this masterpiece one of the best and richest story on true crime. This is a good book for book club discussions as well as murder stories analysis. This is also the best book I have read in terms of researh done, prose and over all presentation!!!
Rustyz More than 1 year ago
In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote is a well written book describing the gruesome killing of a family, the Clutters. Dick and Perry hearing the Clutters are a wealthy family, and decide they are going to try and rob the Clutters. To Dick and Perrys surprise Mr.Clutter in fact had very little money in his house, not wanting to leave any witnesses Dick and Perry decide to carry out an atrocity that would haunt this small town in Kansas for years to come. The towns people are in awe, they have never witnessed something like this before. Thinking it was someone they know the whole town gets suspicious of each other and their is an un-easy tention. The case seemed almost lost with very little evidence until an old prison mate of Dick's reported to the cops of what he knew, thus leading to the arrest of these Cold Blooded Killers. Truman Capote does a well job writing this book, but lacks interest. This book at most parts is extremely plain. Capote tries to build a suspense in the book by stating the outcome within the first couple pages, and describing every part of the case with the utmost detail. Capote does do a well job in bringing sympathy and remorse about the Clutters, and also the killers Dick and Perry, by really investigating their personal history. In Cold Blood is not one of those books you can read in a sitting, it is a dense book filled with lots of detail making it a slow read to fully understand everything Capote is trying to describe. Personally I found this book long and dull, I would not recommend this book to every reader, you need to have a special taste in order to grasp this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In Cold Blood provides an interesting and emotional look at the brutal murder of a family committed by two middle-aged men. Truman Capote sets the story up with a lengthy description of the Clutter family lifestyles, which not only grabs the reader¿s attention, but also causes a sort of attachment and understanding to this benevolent family and its specific members. Capote then goes through the same process with the soon-to-be killers causing the reader to see how average and normal the antagonists seem. He is very descriptive when writing about new characters or locations to further enhance the realistic atmosphere felt when reading the novel. Capote continues his detailed and explicative writing as he tells how Perry and Dick (murderers) fled the scene and continued to Mexico to escape their past and the investigation. Months later, four officers show up to arrest and interrogate the two men based on new evidence and a key witness that was found. Perry and Dick instantly turn on each other when facing a penalty as serious as death and turn to lies and deceit in hopes of having their penalty reduced. It is ironic that all they had before the crime were each other, but as soon as the interrogations begin they are worst enemies. The tale ends with the imprisonment and delayed, but imminent, execution of both men. There were many themes in In Cold Blood but the ones that were recurrent throughout the novel were finding the limit between right and wrong, can morals change the view of the law (is murder punishable by death if the individual cannot mentally tell that the act is wrong), and does revenge ultimately cause the victim¿s family to feel at ease. Capote uncovers more of the killers¿ childhoods and reveals how disturbing they were. Some believed that Perry and Dick could not even feel remorse as they killed their victims. In fact, research into Perry¿s past was done and it was stated that, ¿His [Perry] childhood was marked by brutality and lack of concern on the part of both parents¿poorly controlled rage ¿ easily triggered by being labeled inferior to anyone else¿ and attaches little real value to human life¿ (297-298). Capote realized that the controversy over the punishment for a human killing another and feeling nothing would be large, which is why he chose to create a novel around this general theme. I liked the story immensely and Capote is a prodigious author. The thoughts invoked kept my attention throughout the novel and kept me wanting to read more. I enjoyed the writing style and the descriptive attitude, but some parts were slightly too long. I think a few too many characters were added in, and even though Capote hoped to make it seem more realistic for the reader by doing this, some parts became confusing and many character names were never used again in the story. Readers looking for something relatively short, yet thought provoking, should pick this up, but people who are sensitive to issues such as murder and descriptive events surrounding this should not read In Cold Blood.
Guest More than 1 year ago
With 'In Cold Blood' being my first book to read, I enjoyed it from the beginning to the end. I was quite nervous at first about reading the book because of the size of the book. As I began to read through the story I found out it wasn't so bad. I first noticed I was into this story when I stared losing track of time and forgeting about other work. I suggest that if anyone enjoys mystery or death, 'In Cold Blood' is your book to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i thought this book was veyr good but was drawn out. i though that truman capote could have shortened the story a lot. the vocabulary is very easy to understand in this story. this is really the only book that has been able to hold my attention in a while. i would recomend someone to go buy this book and read it. it is definantly a good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago