I’m re-reading In Cold Blood for what, I think, is the third time. I’m reading it in conjunction with the massive and fascinating biography of Truman Capote by Gerald Clarke, titled Capote: A Biography. It’s a great read, and I recommend it.

However, I just had to note, once again, that it never fails to take my breath away when I get to the following quote, attributed to Perry Smith by Capote:

“I didn’t want to harm the man (Herbert Clutter). I thought he was a very nice gentleman. Soft-spoken. I thought so right up to the moment I cut his throat.”

It was a quote I neglected to mention in my previous review on the book, and one that I thought was worth noting as a particularly stellar and shocking perfect example of the true crime genre.

Published in: on April 20, 2007 at 8:53 pm  Comments (6)  

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  1. I too am re-reading “In Cold Blood”, after having watched Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s spot-on portrayal of Truman Capote in “Capote”, and after re-watching the original “ICB” movie with Robert Blake.

    And I was wondering —

    November 2009 will be the 50th anniversary of the murders, and curiously enough, the date(s) coincide with the date(s) of 1959 – Saturday is the 14th, Sunday the 15th.

    Does anyone know of any plans in Finney County to perhaps mark the anniversary of the murders?

    I am beginning to consider perhaps driving to Garden City & Holcomb that weekend in November, and I wonder if anyone else might be there too?

  2. I really enjoy reading about historical crimes such as the Clutter family murders, the Richard Speck mur-
    ders, etc. I really enjoyed the books on those two incidents…any suggestions for other infamous crimes and books, movies, or websites where I can read about them?? I’d really appreciate it…Thanks!

  3. I would love to go to Holcomb for the 50th anniversary, but it is a little too far and we already have plans for that week end. I wonder if there will be any news coverage of the event???

  4. The 50th anniversary of the Clutter murders went largely un-commemorated in Holcomb, Kansas – at least publicly. There was obligitory coverage in local and regional newspapers and on television news. But there were no candle-light ceremonies or public gatherings that I am aware of.

    I am a native of the area and, as many of us natives can claim, I have numerous personal ties to people who were associated with the Clutters, and the aftermath of their murders.

    It might be difficult for some to understand, but to the people of Finney County Kansas who actually lived through the experience of the Clutter family murders and thier aftermath, these events are far removed from “In Cold Blood” – the book and movies, as well as “Capote” and “Infamous”.

    Being a small community, practiaclly noone living here at the time was unaffected by the tragedy. To some extent, all residents of the community felt invaded – even violated – by the crime. Then, a few years later, when the orignial movie was filmed on location, many felt invaded all over again. What had been personal and painful for many, was exploited. Capote’s depiction of many “locals”, including the Clutters themselves, was considered by many to be insensitive. And even that could have been considered fair, if his depictions had been accurate. But we must remember that, while “In Cold Blood” was a non-fiction novel, it was still a novel. And to think Truman Capote didn’t apply considerable artistic license in his depiction of real life characters would be quite naive.

    Earlier last fall, I believe on a Sunday afternoon in September, a monument to the Clutter family was dedicated in a park in Holcomb. The ceremony was attended by just under 100 people.

  5. When I read historical true crime, I look at it in its entirety: through psychological, sociological, geograhical, criminal, and legal avenues. Capote was a master at this type of writing and deserves to be the “Father of True Crime Writing.” His writing style as well as his research which placed him in the aftermath of this event are a standard for the TC writer. When I taught English in a public school in Florida, In Cold Blood was on the senior reading list. It is a well written classic, and it deserved to be listed. Well, some of the affluent parents (of students) who had perhaps too much influence in the school system there, nixed this after one year. They “did not like the author’s lifestyle.” This thinking may be one of the issues in schools today. I left this system…

  6. Hello are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to
    get started and create my own. Do you need any coding knowledge
    to make your own blog? Any help would be really appreciated!

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