Happy Valentines Day everyone!
Valentine’s Day holds a little bit more poignancy than most…3 years ago, my Nan passed away. As well as being my biggest supporter in absolutely everything I did, like me, she was also an avid bookworm. When I was doing A level English, Nan would ask to read the books I had to learn about too. We would then talk about the books, one in particular and share our thoughts.
The book: In Cold Blood.
I recently rediscovered it and re-read it and I just had to share my admiration for this book with you all. (Ps this isn’t a romantic book).
So in Cold Blood is a non-fiction book by Truman Capote and details the 1959 murders of the Clutter family, in a small, quiet farming community in Kansas. It follows Detective Dewey who was in charge of the case, his trains of thoughts and lines of questioning through to overall outcome of the case and the aftermath of it all. As well as him, it also follows the two murderers Dick and Perry and their life on the run as well as the stories of their past.
“You are a man of extreme passion, a hungry man not quite sure where his appetite lies, a deeply frustrated man striving to project his individuality against a backdrop of rigid conformity. You exist in a half-world suspended between two superstructures, one self-expression and the other self-destruction. You are strong, but there is a flaw in your strength, and unless you learn to control it the flaw will prove stronger than your strength and defeat you.”
Capote brings this story to life and this feels different to any other crime novel. You know that this one is real.
There was much controversy at the time this book was published in 1966. Capote had visited Dick and Perry during their time in prison and got to know them both very well, in fact, he got to know Perry very well. Intimately. The two were said to have had a relationship and that Capote had feelings for him. This is clear to see in the book, especially towards the later chapters in the book.
Truman Capote showed us that no where and no-one is safe. That in the blink of an eye, the life you knew could suddenly become something you don’t even recognise. He shocks us with details of deaths and modus operandi, he makes us feel like we’re interrogators when looking at the townsfolk, he draws us into the murderers lives like we’re on the run with them, he almost makes us feel sorry for Perry. He lets us into Dewey’s life as a detective, the toll it took and how he dealt with it all, even afterwards. The obvious thing to take from all this book has to offer is that all of these characters were real. Real people, real families, dealing with a real life situation. From the clutters who were murdered to their neighbours and other townsfolk, to close friends, loved ones, to the detective, to every person interrogated and interviewed and the murderers, Dick and Perry, were also human…that’s the scariest part. Knowing that Capote was so close to this case, he experienced this too.
I love this book, and so did my Nan. We loved sitting and analysing it and talking about it. I miss that more than anything when I read a good book.
Share my love of this book, I promise you won’t be disappointed. Unless you don’t like crime novels. Then don’t read it because you probably won’t enjoy it but give it a try and see!
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Until next time,