In Cold Blood - Truman Capote

"In cold blood" is a book written by Truman Capote. It is considered a work of police drama based on the tragic events that occurred in Kansas in 1959.

Characters in "In Cold Blood":

In this work the narrator is omniscient and he is the one who is leading the thread of the facts. In addition, many characters appear that are immersed in the plot or are described. Thus, we find the members of the Clutter family, who were victims of a cruel murder; Mrs. Bonnie Fox Clutter, who was Herbert's wife, a housewife and very kind. He had three daughters and a son. Mr. Herbert William Clutter, was an elderly man and suffered from nervousness.

For her part, Nancy Clutter, was 16 years old and was the youngest of the Clutter daughters, she was 16 years old and looked good. Her boyfriend was called Boby Rupp, who was not accepted by his parents because he had another religious tendency. Kenyon Clutter, the only boy and youngest son of the marriage, stood out in his studies and liked reading very much. Evanna Clutter was the oldest daughter, had a baby and was married. Beverly Clutter is the other daughter of the Clutters, a student, she was not at the scene.

On the other hand, we find Richard E. Hickock, whose nickname is Dick, planned from jail to rob the Clutter family, as he believed they possessed large amounts of money, and finding only $ 150, decided to kill them all in cold blood. . Perry E. Smith, was an accomplice to the crimes, he had been imprisoned on several occasions. He was hanged along with his partner Richard E. Hickock.

Floyd Wells, was a former family worker, and it was he who gave false information to Dick, telling him that they had a lot of money in a safe. Within the plot is a main witness to find the actors of the events. For his part, Alvin Adams Dewey, was in charge of conducting the investigation of the case in order to find the culprits.

Summary and synopsis of the work:

This play tells the story of the murder of the Clutter family, who owned a farm in the Midwestern United States. This happened on November 15, 1959, whose murderers were Richard E. Hickock, known as Dick, and Perry E. Smith, the accomplice. Herbert the father was killed; Bonnie, the mother; sons Kenyon and Nancy, both teenagers. The assassins went with the intention of stealing a large sum of money from the safe and when they did not find it, they decided to kill them all in cold blood.

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The Clutters were a typical Kansas family, humble people, hardworking, religious, and had no valuable assets, much less a fortune. Furthermore, they apparently had no enemies or conflicts with their neighbors, or some passionate incident. Nothing that could indicate that there was a reason for being cruelly murdered. When the events occurred, they only had $ 150 in their house, and they did not have a safe.

In this novel, the development of the life of criminals and their victims is narrated long before the family tragedy. Then, as the book ends, the details of the four murders are revealed. Details of the clues that allow him to find the culprits are given.

Here is presented the perspective that the murderers had and the reason that led them to commit such a crime. Through different interviews that the author himself carried out with the neighbors, it is possible to reconstruct the profile of this family, also using the information from the different print media and local radio. Which shows us the shock this case caused in Kansas and across the nation.

In this sense, to determine the guilt of Richard E. Hickock and Perry E. Smith, the statements of a former worker of the Clutters, Floyd Wells, who misinformed “Dick” that the family had a lot of money in the a safe. For a time, when they were together in the same cell, he began to plan the robbery of this family.

After the capture, in 1960, six years after the crime, it is narrated the cruel childhood that these criminals lived and that possibly their mental imbalance led them to commit such atrocious acts. Therefore, the ruthless and cruel way in which the victims were treated, sentenced them to hang, and despite the fact that they asked for mercy, the authorities flatly denied it.

In this way, in April 1965, the assassins of the Clutter family were hanged, thus paying for the tragic death suffered by the members of that family, where Herbert Clutter was cut while he was tied to a chair, then they shot him. in the head; Bonnie the wife was also gagged and the last to be shot. She suffered the pain of hearing the shots that ended the lives of her children.

For her part, Nancy Clutter pleaded for her life but received several shots that took her life, and Kenyon Clutter was unfortunate to see her father die and to be equally murdered in cold blood. And in this way, they ended up with a working, honest and religious family for wanting to take money from them that they did not have.

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Analysis of the book:

This novel is divided into four parts, gradually revealing how the events of the Kansas massacre took place, in which the four members of the Clutter family were murdered, who were farmers with exemplary behavior, and very workers.

This story is constructed through real events and the different police investigations. Therefore it enters into a new literary style "Novel of non-fiction", based on crimes and accurate investigations. It is narrated under the voice of a third-person narrator who exposes stories about the lives of murderers and victims. As well as describing how the events happened and how the clues to find the culprits were obtained.

Finally "In cold blood" offers us a discourse that mixes literature with journalism, to create truly authentic characters and exposed within the novel as a key piece to capture the interest of the reader with this case of a criminal nature. It also reveals the psyche of the perpetrators of the crime and how their experiences and childhood could cause a total lack of control in their minds, in which evil was present.


"What is life? It is the glow of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in winter. It is the brief shadow that crosses the grass and is lost in the sunset ”

“It is painful for me and painful for them. When murders are at stake, one cannot have much regard for personal pain. Not with intimacy. Not with personal feelings. You have to ask questions. And some hurt deeply "

"Nothing is as common as believing that others are partly to blame for our failures, just as it is also a common reaction to forget those who have had something to do with our successes"

"What difference does it make? In eternity everything is the same. Because remember this: if a bird carried the sand, grain by grain, from one side of the ocean to the other, when it had transported it all, that would only be the beginning of eternity ”

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