In Cold Blood
New York: Random House, 1966. Octavo. Maroon cloth binding, boards slightly bowed, black topstain, deckled fore-edge in a chipped and worn dust wrapper. 343 pages. First edition. Very good.
Capote, a genius, at the summit of his powers. His rendering of the grizzly Heartland murders and the drama that followed is masterful, but it courted controversy. In a letter to Capote, William S. Burroughs claimed Capote had placed his "services at the disposal of interests who are turning America into a police state." He went on with a full head of steam: "You have betrayed and sold out the talent that was granted you by this department. That talent is now officially withdrawn. Enjoy your dirty money. You will never have anything else. You will never write another sentence above the level of In Cold Blood. As a writer you are finished. Over and out. Are you tracking me? Know who I am? You know me, Truman. You have known me for a long time. This is my last visit." Sadly, Burroughs was right. The book ruined Capote, who was little more than a pickled gossip columnist from that point forward. In Cold Blood was indeed the high-water mark.
“Imagination, of course, can open any door—
turn the key and let terror walk right in.”