Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

The Narrator's Perspective in True Crime Books

In Cold Blood, All the President's Men and Midnight in the Garden of Good of Evil all deal with real-life crimes. Each of the authors takes a different approach to point of view, depending upon their unique relationships to the setting in which the books take place. All three books, furthermore, combine certain elements of journalism and of the novel to create works that move beyond mere crime reporting to bring characters to life.

In 1959, the Clutter family was murdered in the small Kansas town of Holcomb. Soon thereafter, Truman Capote arrived to do research into the case for an article. Six years later, however, what Truman Capote produced was a revolutionary new book titled In Cold Blood. Capote's intention was to create a new literary genre that told a true story, but read like a novel. Thus, In Cold Blood reconstructs the gruesome murders of several members of the Clutter family, written more like a novel of realism than an example of a journalistic book like All the President's Men. Both books, however, deal primarily with a case of real murder. Yet Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil differs substantially from the other two works, making a murder simply the central tile in a much larger mosaic.

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