Crime fiction, eh? Except this isn’t fiction, it’s crime non-fiction. We’re not really ones for crime thrillers and all that here at Professional Moron, but Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood is an exceptional exception. It’s the type of book you steam through and constantly think, “Buh-loody hell!”. It’s a brilliant piece of investigative journalism and, what ho, we’re making it our Book Of Da Week.
In Cold Blood
Crime is always so unpleasant, and In Cold Blood spins out the story of Perry Smith and Dick Hickcock with impartial verve. In 1959 the pair murdered a Kansas family whilst robbing their house, a theft which only earned them an idiotically small amount of money. After they were arrested and put on trial Capote gained regular access to the murderers, visiting them in prison on numerous occasions.
He spoke extensively with police chiefs and the local community as he pieced together the book, gaining unprecedented insights into a pointlessly brutal crime. This went on for a long time too, with Capote becoming infatuated with events – it took seven years for the story to play itself out, Capote running himself ragged waiting for its conclusion (it would be the last full book he wrote, despite it launching him to superstardom).
The emotional drain on its authors, which drove him to considerable distress, didn’t impact on the quality of the text. An instant classic, the result is a candid exposé of a terrible crime and its perpetrators, a disturbing psychological study of a terrible event. Scary? Yes. An almighty read? Affirmative.
The book’s become iconic in the literary world since its publication in 1966, and has been subject to adaptations from movie studios. We’d like to promote here, on the eve of the anniversary of his death, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Oscar winning performance in 2005’s Capote, a film about the writer’s struggles with the book. Read the book, watch the film, and bask in one of the most unpleasantly brilliant tales of the 20th century.