In Cold Blood

Today is the 50th anniversary of the publication of In True Blood : A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences by Truman Capote.

In True Blood is considered to be the first narrative non-fiction book, that is a book in which factual matter is presented in a narrative way using literary techniques.

In True Blood details the murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas on 15 November 1959. The perpetrators, Richard Hickock and Perry Smith were arrested six weeks later, tried and finally executed in April 1965.

Along with his childhood friend, Harper Lee, Truman Capote travelled to Holcomb where they interviewed neighbours and police involved.   Capote also interviewed Hickock and Smith in gaol. He seems to have become pretty close to Perry Smith and there are question marks over the nature of his relationship with the convicted murderer.

In Cold Blood was published in book form in January 1966 by Random House although it had been serialised in The New Yorker beginning in September 1965.  It was an instant success and earned Capote much praise from the literary community, but some critics doubt its veracity and have accused Truman Capote of changing facts, adding scenes that never occurred and re-creating dialogue.

There have been three film and one TV adaptation of In Cold Blood. Most readers will probably best remember Capote (2005)starring Philip Seymour Hoffman who won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Truman Capote.

In True Blood can be found on the Adult Fiction shelves at 364.1523 CAP.

There is an article on In True Blood in Wikepedia which may be of interest to readers.

There are many other good examples of narrative non-fiction, a few I have enjoyed include The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt and Zeitoun by Dave Eggers.  there are a lot more on this Goodreads webpage.

HC

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