In Cold Blood

Kansas Heritage Center/

High Plains residents may recognize the name Herb Clutter as the patriarch of the family that was brutally slain in Truman Capote’s true crime masterpiece In Cold Blood. But for folks in Southwest Kansas, the substance of Herb Clutter’s life is of so much more importance than its unfortunate conclusion.

AP photo

The country has been mourning the loss of one of its most beloved novelists, Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird. But The Wichita Eagle recently pointed out Lee’s role in the writing of another American classic, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. Harper Lee and Capote had been friends since childhood.

Harper Lee has SW Kansas ties

Feb 5, 2015

Fans of the Pulitzer Prize winning “To Kill a Mockingbird” know Harper Lee is planning to release an unexpected sequel to the famous story later this year.  But, you may not know the private author has ties to the Sunflower State reports KSN.

Before she was internationally recognized for “To Kill a Mockingbird”, Harper Lee spent some time in Garden City working on another famous book.

Laurie Oshel is the assistant director of Finney County Historical Society.  She says, “Lee came to Garden City in late 1959, early 1960 with Truman Capote.”


An upcoming book could give new insight into the 1959 murders of the Clutter family near Holcomb, Kansas.  A recent ruling allows the state detective’s son to publish his father’s personal notes.

A Kansas judge has decided the son of a deceased Kansas Bureau of Investigation agent can publish his father’s files from the 1959 killings that inspired the book, “In Cold Blood.”

Clutter Murderer Files Online

Jun 7, 2013
Kansas State Historical Society

Home should be safe.  It doesn't matter if you live in the country or the city, in an apartment or on a farm, the place where you lay your head should be safe.  No so for Herb and Bonnie Clutter, and their two children.  The Clutter family was murdered in 1959 by Richard Eugene Hickock and Perry Edward Smith a few days before Christmas in their farmhouse, outside a little farming town in Kansas called Holcomb. 

Kansas Bureau of Investigation documents suggest that the events described in two crucial chapters of Truman Capote's "non-fiction novel", In Cold Blood, differ significantly from what actually happened. Writer Kevin Helliker explores this new evidence and other findings in a recent Wall Street Journal article.