In Cold Blood
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.
‘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.
Three-quarter-bound in buckram with a Modigliani paper front board printed with a photograph of the Clutter family home
Set in Adobe Caslon
Frontispiece and 12 pages of black & white photographs
9½˝ × 6¼˝