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Capote Classic ´In Cold Blood´
Tainted by Long-Lost Files

Wall Street Journal, by Kevin Helliker

Original Article

Posted By:MissMolly, 2/9/2013 5:54:38 AM

GARDEN CITY, Kan.—Truman Capote´s masterwork of murder, "In Cold Blood," cemented two reputations when first published almost five decades ago: his own, as a literary innovator, and detective Alvin Dewey Jr.´s as the most famous Kansas lawman since Wyatt Earp. But new evidence undermines Mr. Capote´s claim that his best seller was an "immaculately factual" recounting of the bloody slaughter of the Clutter family in their Kansas farmhouse. It also calls into question the image of Mr. Dewey as the brilliant, haunted hero. A long-forgotten cache of Kansas Bureau of Investigation documents from the investigation

      


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Reply 1 - Posted by: franq, 2/9/2013 7:00:38 AM     (No. 9166883)

"Silent Spring". "The Jungle". "Profiles in Courage". Any more?

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Reply 2 - Posted by: OperaBuff, 2/9/2013 7:06:01 AM     (No. 9166890)

The cloying descriptor "nonfiction novel" makes sense only when the operative word is "novel".

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Reply 3 - Posted by: DaddyO, 2/9/2013 7:14:18 AM     (No. 9166896)

Although the book was based on a true event, there´s no way the book can be ´factual´. There are too many conversations that capote wrote about, and he wasn´t there. That by no means diminishes the brilliance of the book.

One thing that still haunts me, is why Nancy Clutter didn´t jump out her window and run when the rest of her family was being slaughtered.

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Reply 4 - Posted by: kono, 2/9/2013 8:03:30 AM     (No. 9166956)

Truman Capote.... Gave me the very same visceral ewwww I got from seeing or hearing Liberace on TV.

Did ´foxy´ convey sexiness back then as it does today? Or did it only convey sly and cunning? Capote addressed Mr. Dewey as Foxy in one of the letters shown here.

Ew.

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Reply 5 - Posted by: earlybird, 2/9/2013 8:58:44 AM     (No. 9167053)

This was first and foremost a novel based upon a true story. The author´s take on what happened. Not a history book.

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Reply 6 - Posted by: SoCalGal, 2/9/2013 9:10:57 AM     (No. 9167081)

Shawn may have been a "fanatic for accuracy", but In Cold Blood was a novel based upon the Clutter murders. A novel is a work of fiction. Examples of nonfiction novels are the historical novels that many of us enjoy.

Capote was known for being less than truthful and the book was his take on this crime, not a step by step documentary.

As for his addressing Lewis as "Foxy", apparently he mocked the rather staid Lewis by calling him "Detective Foxy" when he was not present. "Foxy" can mean "sly, cunning", "resembling a fox".

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Reply 7 - Posted by: SoCalGal, 2/9/2013 9:15:54 AM     (No. 9167090)

Re #7, I meant to say Dewey, not Lewis.

Coffee time. It´s early here.

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Reply 8 - Posted by: Emerson, 2/9/2013 9:20:34 AM     (No. 9167099)

Here is the main thrust of this story:

Over the decades, literary sleuths have turned up numerous journalistic sins in "In Cold Blood," ranging from minor inaccuracies to outright fabrication. The latest revelations, though, are particularly damaging because they undermine one of the longest-standing defenses of the book: that the KBI hailed it as true. Mr. Dewey many times called the book accurate.

Mr. Capote´s defenders note that the rules of non-fiction-book writing, including the footnoting of source material, hardened only after Mr. Capote helped pioneer the genre. A similar defense can be made for the KBI, which in 1959 had no protocol for how to handle celebrity writers from New York promising not to publish a word until long after the case had been resolved—a vow Mr. Capote kept.


It was still a fascinating book in its time. A blockbuster.

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Reply 9 - Posted by: TrueBlueWfan, 2/9/2013 11:23:36 AM     (No. 9167329)

A little trivia - Capote and Harper Lee of "To Kill a Mockingbird" grew up together and the Dill character was based on him. Harper Lee helped Capote research "In Cold Blood", and went to Kansas with him. He never acknowledged her in the book, and it hurt her terribly. I don´t think they ever reconciled. Capote was not an honorable man, IMO.

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Reply 10 - Posted by: earlybird, 2/9/2013 1:24:14 PM     (No. 9167564)

Re #10, apparently he included her in the credits in the book, but as someone who helped with secretarial work.

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Reply 11 - Posted by: earlybird, 2/9/2013 1:31:44 PM     (No. 9167572)

The information in #12 was in error. She was his research assistant on the book. She did not co-write it. The dedication in the book:

FOR Jack Dunphy AND Harper Lee WITH MY LOVE AND GRATITUDE

Someone said she didn´t like sharing billing with Dunphy, but that is nowhere in writings about her that I´ve found, and those go into a lot of detail on their lifelong friendship. They did drift apart when he began his descent into drug use and decadence.



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Reply 12 - Posted by: earlybird, 2/9/2013 1:56:48 PM     (No. 9167606)

About those caps, that dedication was an exact copy from an Amazon reproduction of the dedication page of the book.

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