When I was at the bookstore last, I picked up To Kill a Mockingbird. I knew that Harper Lee and Truman Capote had been childhood friends. Lee has stated that she based the character, Dill Harris, on Capote. One of the great joys of bookstores lies in browsing them. A discovery on one shelf triggers a thought. I stalk to another section of the store looking for something– anything– inspired by that fleeting connection. To Kill a Mockingbird led to In Cold Blood. This non-fiction novel details the savage Clutter family murders in Holcomb, Kansas in 1959 and their aftermath.
Fascinated by a brief news item about the murders, Capote traveled with Lee to Holcomb and visited the scene of the massacre. The eccentric Capote spent six years writing this book– the story had that strong of an effect on him. The New York Review of Books wrote, “[In Cold Blood is] the best documentary account of an American crime ever written… The book chills the blood and exercises the intelligence … harrowing.” Whirl has encouraged me to read In Cold Blood for years. I think it is time I do.