Introduced by Rupert Thomson
Capote’s masterpiece of suspense was an immediate sensation when it was serialised in the New Yorker in 1965. Our edition, introduced by Rupert Thomson, includes rare courtroom photographs.
On the morning of Sunday, 15 November 1959, two teenage girls went to River Valley Farm in Holcomb, Kansas, the home of their friend Nancy Clutter. They found Nancy lying on her bed, shot in the back of the head with a shotgun, her bedroom wall spattered with blood. Her mother, Bonnie, was also dead, her hands tied together and her mouth taped with adhesive. In the basement, her father Herb’s throat had been slit; her brother, Kenyon, had been gagged and bound and shot in the face. The telephone line had been disconnected. Forty dollars in cash was missing.
Introduced by Rupert Thomson.
Three-quarter-bound in buckram with a Modigliani paper side.
Printed with a picture of the Clutter family home.
Set in Adobe Caslon.
12 pages of black & white photographs.
Book size: 9½" × 6¼", 304 pages.
‘One of the great books of American 20th-century literature’
His attention caught by a brief newspaper report of the murders, author Truman Capote set out for Kansas to investigate. The result was In Cold Blood, six years in the writing and probably the most influential work of true crime ever written. With a novelist’s voice and a reporter’s instinct, Capote describes the build-up to and aftermath of the murders, and the hunt for the killers, two drifters who had met in Kansas State Penitentiary. Perry Smith, whose mother was an alcoholic, had become addicted to painkillers after being maimed in a motorcycle accident. Dick Hickock was a former mechanic who conceived the plan and recruited Smith because he believed him to be ‘a natural-born killer’. In reconstructing their lives, Capote comes as close as possible to answering the unanswerable question of why they murdered the Clutters.
‘A masterpiece – agonizing, terrible, possessed’
In Cold Blood was an immediate sensation when it was serialised in The New Yorker in 1965. A masterpiece of suspense, it is also a portrait of America: both the sleepy, small-town world of Holcomb, and the seedy underbelly from which Smith and Hickock emerged. In a brilliant introduction, novelist Rupert Thomson quotes Capote as saying that writing the book ‘scraped me right down to the marrow of my bones’. In the remaining 20 years of Capote’s life, he never published another full-length work. This edition includes rare photographs taken during Smith and Hickcock’s arrest and trial, as well as haunting images of Holcomb and the Clutter home.
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Truman Capote was born in New Orleans in 1924. Following his parents’ divorce four years later, he was sent to Monroeville, Alabama, to be raised by his mother’s relatives. In 1933 he went to live with his mother in New York, and began working at The New Yorker at the age of nineteen. His first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948), earned him an international literary reputation. Along with Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958), his major successes include The Grass Harp (1951) and In Cold Blood (1965), but he is equally remembered for his flamboyant, controversial lifestyle and penchant for the glittering world of high society. He died in 1984.
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Review by anon on 8th Sep 2016
"A perfect work in my opinion. Nothing like what I've read so far. I would just like to point to a comment made by the first user; the illustrations are not captioned, but their descriptions are liste..." [read more]
Review by subseasniper on 4th Feb 2016
"We all know In Cold Blood, Truman Capote descending on Kansas like a fish out of water who manages to soak up the essentil atmosphere of the place and the gruesome murder of a family of four by two tr..." [read more]
Review by MKenny on 10th May 2012
"This book has become a classic in American reportage. Capote used a novelistic style to report on this awful crime, that has since become the standard for all "true crime" books. I read this book ba..." [read more]