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In Cold Blood by Truman Capote - Book Report/Review Example

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In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Later, more movies were made on the same theme. A TV mini production on the same theme was aired in 1996.
Reading about the murders in The New York Times, Truman Capote, a high-flying reporter wanted to investigate on his own and went to Halcomb in rural Kansas, the scene of the crime with a childhood friend and co-author, Harper Lee. After months of researching and talking to detectives and the local villagers, Capote came out with his book. The book was published in 1965 and made history in the literary and journalistic world.
In 1959, Herbert Clutter, his wife, Bonnie, daughter Nancy (aged 16) and son, Kenyon (aged 15) were brutally murdered by the assailants, Richard "Dick" Hickock and Perry Edward Smith. Herbert Clutter's throat was slit and he was shot in the head. This was followed by the murders of the other two children and the wife. Though it is not very clear, but it is thought that the murders were in the following order: first Kenyon, then Nancy, and then Bonnie were murdered, each by single shotgun blasts to the head.The motive behind the murder seems to have been a misinformation about cash reserves in the Clutter households. Herbert Clutter was a successful farmer and community leader, a man known for his fairness, his loyalty to his invalid wife and his aversion to dealing in cash.

Herbert Clutter was a dedicated Methodist and a widely respected self-made man who had established a successful farm from modest beginnings. Herbert Clutter, his invalid wife, Bonnie and their four children: three girls and a boy were very popular and widely respected by everyone in the village. The two eldest children, Eveanna and Beverly, had moved out of their parents' home and started their adult lives. The younger two, Nancy (aged 16) and Kenyon (aged 15) were in school and lived with the parents. Bonnie was a member of the garden club and was supposed to be suffering from depression and physical illness after the births of her children. Herbert Clutter was admired and respected by his farmhands as he treated them fairly and paid them well. He had almost eighteen farmhands working on his farm. Nancy, a straight-A student and award-winning pie-maker, was dating a high school basketball star.

Kenyon, the bookish youngest Clutter, was building a cedar chest to give to his oldest sister, Beverly, on her wedding. They were regular churchgoers, active in the 4-H and were liked by everyone in the village.

Richard Hickock was an ex-convict on parole from the Kansas State Penitentiary. He had heard from a fellow prisoner, Floyd Wells, an ex-farmhand at the Clutters, about the ranch and Herb Clutter. He recounted how his boss spent $10,000 a week to keep his farm going, and speculated that there must be a safe somewhere on Clutter's huge farm. Hickock was tempted to steal the money, leave no trace of the robbery and start a new life in Mexico with the cash from the Clutter home. He contacted Perry Smith, another ex-convict on parole at the state penitentiary and made him an accomplice in his plan. Hickock considered his plan as a foolproof one as he had planned to escape ...Show more

Summary

The book "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote is a classic example of a book that combined story-telling with facts and gave rise to a new trend in journalism; that of New Journalism. Capote's award-winning account of the murder and murderers in the book "In Cold Blood" catapulted him to the peak of his career with its release in 1965.The book is often regarded as a pioneering work of true crime.
Author : walterbenny
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