In Cold Blood is a 1966 book by American author Truman Capote detailing the brutal 1959 murders of Herbert Clutter, a successful farmer from Holcomb, Kansas, his wife, and two of their four children. Two older daughters no longer lived at the farm and were not there at the time of the murders. When Capote learned of the quadruple murder, before the killers were captured, he decided to travel to Kansas and write about the crime. He was accompanied by his childhood friend and fellow author Harper Lee, and together they interviewed local residents and investigators assigned to the case and took thousands of pages of notes. The killers, Richard "Dick" Hickock and Perry Smith, were arrested some six weeks after the murders, and Capote ultimately spent six years working on the book. The book became the greatest crime seller at the time.
Some critics consider Capote's work the original non-fiction novel, although other writers had already explored the genre, such as Rodolfo Walsh in Operación Masacre. The book examines the complex psychological relationship between two parolees who together commit a mass murder. Capote's book also explores the lives of the victims and the effect of the crime on the community where they lived. In Cold Blood is regarded by critics as a pioneering work of the true crime genre.
About the Author
Truman Garcia Capote, born Truman Streckfus Persons, September 30, 1924 – August 25, 1984) was an American novelist, screenwriter, playwright and actor. Several of his short stories, novels, and plays have been praised as literary classics, including the novella Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958) and the true crime novel In Cold Blood (1966), which he labeled a "non-fiction novel." His works have been adapted into more than 20 films and television dramas.
Capote rose above a childhood troubled by divorce, a long absence from his mother, and multiple migrations. He had discovered his calling as a writer by the time he was eight years old, and he honed his writing ability throughout his childhood. He began his professional career writing short stories. The critical success of "Miriam" (1945) attracted the attention of Random House publisher Bennett Cerf and resulted in a contract to write the novel Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948). Capote earned the most fame with In Cold Blood (1966), a journalistic work about the murder of a Kansas farm family in their home. Capote spent six years writing the book, aided by his lifelong friend Harper Lee, who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird (1960).