Saturday, May 19, 2007

Five best true-crime books

Ann Rule, best-selling author of two dozen true-crime books, named a "five best" list for Opinion Journal.

Number One on her list:

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Writing on true crime requires a capacity to deliver a kind of psychological autopsy of both the dead and the deadly. Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood," about the murder of a Kansas farm family in 1959, superbly exemplifies that skill. In a classic true-crime story the central question is not the how but the why -- why did this happen? The case must be complex, the characters -- including the detectives and prosecutors -- unpredictable. Capote's mesmerizing book, which I read when it was first published, was the inspiration that led me to try, on my own, to get inside the mind of a murderer -- which is how it happened that I did my study, 15 years later, of Ted Bundy, poster boy of serial killers. Despite latter-day criticism of Capote's ethics and technique, he continues to be the author whose singular work represented a new way of getting at the truth of so dark a crime.

Read about the other four titles on Rule's list.

--Marshal Zeringue