cover image And Every Word Is True

And Every Word Is True

Gary McAvoy. Literati, $24.95 (300p) ISBN 978-0-9908376-0-2

McAvoy, a dealer of collectible manuscripts and other memorabilia, delivers an often captivating addendum to the Clutter family murder case, immortalized in Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. When Ron Nye, the grown son of police investigator Harold Nye, finds a box of his late father’s papers, he contacts McAvoy about selling the material. Beyond his interest in the correspondence between Capote and Nye, McAvoy’s curiosity spikes after the Kansas attorney general demands the papers, claiming them to be the property of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. Challenges to the veracity of In Cold Blood are in no way new, but McAvoy offers fresh details relating to Capote’s embellishments and omissions, such as leaving out details concerning Bonnie and Herbert Clutter’s marriage and family reputation. McAvoy also explores the possibility that the killers, Richard “Dick” Hickock and Perry Smith, were hired, as suggested in handwritten documents by Hickock. Intriguingly, he also addresses the potential influence of law enforcement on Capote’s work: “a case could be made, then, that In Cold Blood was as much a product of the KBI’s guiding hand as it was Capote’s flowing pen.” McAvoy’s disclosures are provocative, if not earthshaking; most notably, McAvoy echoes Capote’s potent prose style and deep humanizing of his subjects, while broadening the conversation about truth, intention, and narrative representation. (BookLife)