Sunday, March 16, 2014
In Cold Blood
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote has long been on my want-to-read list. Since I'm waiting for April 1 for my next free James Bond download from the Kindle lending library, and, inspired by SJ Honeywell's review of the movie Capote last month, I started reading it this week.
In Cold Blood tells the story of the Clutter Family murders. In November, 1959, an entire family of four (father, mother, teen daughter and teen son) was murdered in the middle of the night in the tiny farming town of Holcomb, Kansas. Police could find no apparent motive and only two clues, bootprints left by the killers. Author Truman Capote investigated the crime and followed the investigation and, after the killers were caught, spent the next six years writing his masterpiece, widely recognized as one of the greatest true-crime books of all time.
I am finding the reputation to be well-deserved. Capote's writing is excellent, clear, straightforward and compelling, yet poetic when needed. It's certainly not a funny book, but there are a few humorous word constructions here and there that let his sly sense of humor show through. The story details a terrible, pointless tragedy, but reveals an amazingly rich tapestry of humanity.
I especially appreciate the way Capote follows all the people involved up to the night of the murders, then skips to the next morning, waiting until the killers are caught to reveal what really happened during that dreadful night. There's never any mystery about who did it from our perspective, but waiting to reveal the details was a clever move.
Once I'm done with the book, likely in a day or two, I plan to watch Philip Seymour Hoffman's Oscar-winning performance in Capote. I'm really looking forward to it.