Tag Archives: truman capote

New files re: In Cold Blood.

You can bet if it’s on In Cold Blood, I’ll be reading it.

Most recently, a few new investigative files are set to be released. As with any of the other late revelations—especially the bit about the supposed additional murders committed in Florida by Hickock and Smith, which always seemed to be a bit of stretch to me—I doubt much will really be gleaned from this latest trove, but it will be endlessly interesting to see if Capote’s account continues to hold up.

Maybe one of these days I’ll dig up my honors’ thesis on In Cold Blood and post it up online…

…yeah right. No, that will never happen.

WSJ Revelations on “In Cold Blood.”

The Wall Street Journal has an investigative piece on In Cold Blood:

[N]ew evidence undermines Mr. Capote’s claim that his best seller was an “immaculately factual” recounting of the bloody slaughter of the Clutter family in their Kansas farmhouse. It also calls into question the image of Mr. Dewey as the brilliant, haunted hero.

As I mentioned in a previous post on this book, I’ve got some interest in the accuracy of In Cold Blood, having spent the bulk of my senior year in college researching and writing my honor’s thesis on it.

The Dewey allegations are nothing new, and frankly I find some of the WSJ piece’s implications reductive (such as—unless I’m misreading here—an apparent motivation for the movie contract). The main thrust of my honor’s thesis was that In Cold Blood, despite not being “immaculately factual” (as Capote claimed) still conformed to a lot of the norms of classic journalistic objectivity.

I’m not sure if this evidence, if true, changes much of that—the chapters the WSJ labels as “crucial” aren’t, really, much more “crucial” than dozens of other scenes in the book—but it is an interesting revelation nonetheless.

Cold “In Cold Blood.”

For someone who has spent a great deal of time thinking about Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, one of the great masterpieces of the 20th century, this possible bit of news has me intrigued:

More than 50 years after the Walker family was murdered in the quiet, carefree town of Osprey, Fla., the focus of the cold case investigation has shifted to two notorious killers who were the basis of Truman Capote’s true-crime book “In Cold Blood.”

Investigators from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office are hoping to travel to Kansas as soon as an order is approved by a judge to exhume the bodies of Perry Smith and Richard Hickock. They hope mitochondrial DNA evidence collected from the bones of the killers, who were executed by hanging in 1965, will help close a cold case that rattled Sarasota County.

Consider me highly skeptical that Hickock and Smith had anything to do with those other murders—admittedly that is nothing more than the strong sense I have received from the book that Capote has told the entire story. Even if he, as is well known now, embellished and fabricated some elements of In Cold Blood (to a particular end and purpose, though, which I spent my poorly-written undergraduate honor’s thesis examining), I don’t think he would have failed to turn up this other crime. That being said, this strikes me as implausible: Why wouldn’t Smith have confided this to Capote, especially as he was facing imminent death? But I guess we’ll see—presumably the sheriff’s office would not go to the extreme degree of exhuming bodies if they didn’t have a decent amount of evidence.