Summary. In Cold Blood is the true story of a multiple murder that rocked the small town of Holcomb, Kansas and neighboring communities in 1959. It begins by introducing the reader to an ideal, all-American family, the Clutters -- Herb (the father), Bonnie (the mother), Nancy (the teenage daughter), and Kenyon (the teenage son). The Clutters were prominent members of their community who gained admiration and respect for their neighborly demeanors.
After being introduced to the Clutter family, the reader becomes acquainted with Dick Hickock and Perry Smith. The two were former inmates who met in prison. After their release, the men meet up for what Dick calls Aa perfect score.@ As it turns out, Dick=s cell mate had worked for the Clutters some years earlier and suggested to Dick that he check into employment at the Clutters= farm because the Clutters were such friendly, kindhearted people. The more Dick learned about the Clutters, the more he considered seeking fast cash as opposed to employment. During the trial in the last chapter of the book, however, Dick admitted that his sexual interest in teenage girls was the most powerful force in his decision to invade the Clutters= home. (Perry stopped him from harming Nancy.)
Finally, the killers were identified by Dick=s former cell mate and tracked down in Las Vegas. In the time leading up to their arrest, the reader is offered greater insight into the characters of the two men. Because Perry opposed Dick=s crude behavior and showed compassion for the people Dick intended to harm or slight, we are left to feel a bit of sympathy for him. It becomes tempting to see Dick as the manipulative leader and Perry as the helpless follower.
After the suspects were taken into custody, Perry eventually confessed that he had killed Herb, Bonnie, Nancy, and Kenyon -- tied each of them up, made sure they were comfortable, then shot each of them in... [continues]
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