In Cold Blood

What is the purpose of the opening section of the text ending with "and as strangers"? What details are discussed and why?

"The lat to see them alive"

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Last updated by Aslan
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I think this quote explains how much the town was affected by these murders. They felt that they were immune to the violence of strangers. Their trust was shattered, not only in visitors but in each other. Before the two culprits were tried, rumors swelled around town about the family and the people who knew them well.