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When this book was suggested for my bookclub, I was intrigued. It is one of those books that I have meant to read forever and, indeed, it was published in 1966, the year I was born, so it was interesting for me to read just from that angle (even if it was first serialised in the ‘New Yorker’ in 1965).

Like so many great things that are created, this was inspired by something quite inconspicuous; a one column story which appeared in a newspaper on November, 16th, 1959, about the murder of the Clutter family on Rivery Valley Farm in western Kansas. This news story sent Truman Capote out to Kansas to investigate and resulted in him creating, arguably, the first ‘nonfiction novel.’

Although the subject matter of this book is, obviously, a tragedy, it is wonderfully written, with great sympathy to everyone involved and a very modern examination of the reasons for the crime. Indeed, early crime books/magazines tended towards the sensational and shocking; whereas this is much more analytical and interested in character and motive. “In Cold Blood,” is the second best selling true crime book of all time, beaten only by the brilliant, “Helter Skelter,” so it keeps good company.

Like, “Helter Skelter,” this book is obsessed with detail. “In Cold Blood,” is a work of great research and took years to write. Capote sets the scene well; taking us through the last day of the Clutters lives and introducing us to this respected, and respectable, family. Although, later in the book, the author focuses on the killers, their backgrounds and their motivations, he is respectful to the victims and, by introducing them to the reader first, he enables us to feel sympathy for them before anything else. However, the bulk of the book does look at the men who are arrested, and tried, for the murders in great detail. He examines their past, their relationship and how they were caught, plus what happened to them afterwards.

Although these events happened a long time ago, this book does not feel particularly dated. The reasons behind such crimes are, sadly, still much the same as they were then. Although I cannot say this was an easy, or comfortable, read, it is really a brilliantly written book and I am glad that I finally read it.
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An absolutely brilliant reconstruction of the 1959 mass murder of a whole family in a remote Kansas town, by two drifters for no very logical reason. Capote sets the scene brilliantly in the first chapter, as he jumps from the family living their ordinary day to the two murderers, chatting, driving. The reader knows an awful event is about to happen; as little events happen, such as the neighbour's child coming over to visit, you wonder whether she is going to be harmed or will she get away in time...
In the 3 succeeding chapters, the police are looking for these 'persons unknown' until the answer presents itself. And throughout we learn more of the killers, though not enough to comprehend their motivation.
Shocking and highly readable.
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on 29 March 2017
Having seen both films inspired by this book I decided it was time to read it. It's quite exceptional. A unique hybrid, part novel, part reportage infused with deep humanity yet unsentimental and clear headed. I now understand why Capote found it impossible to write anything substantial after this and that is very sad ... but what he gave us is a masterpiece ... and if I could write one paragraph as good as any in this book I would be elated
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on 21 October 2015
The timeless classic by Truman Capote. I read it years ago but have no idea what became of my original copy. I bought this terrific updated Penguin edition in order to read it again. I can't add anything to what has already been written about this book, just to mention that this is a worthy edition to buy if you are somewhat confused by all the versions out there.
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on 15 May 2017
Great book, Makes you ask why one human could do such an awful thing to another. There are some very sick people out there,
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on 7 April 2017
This was not an easy read but extremely well written and the plot structure is unique for a true life story
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on 7 June 2017
A really interesting read and deservedly a best seller at the time.
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on 20 May 2017
Truman Capote's book is one of the best I have ever read.
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on 21 April 2017
A documentary style narrative with rich description.
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on 17 May 2017
Good literature, good insight into a time and into a perennial problem. Masterly written, it is very much worth reading.
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