Considered by some[[note]]See the YMMV about ''Literature/OperationMassacre'' about this[[/note]] to be the TropeCodifier for [[NonFictionLiterature the Non-Fiction Novel]], '''''In Cold Blood''''' was written by Truman Capote and published in 1966.

It tells the story of Perry Smith and Richard Hickock, two recently-paroled convicts in Kansas. One day in 1959, they hear from a fellow con named Floyd Wells about a farmer he worked for named Herb Clutter. According to Wells, Clutter kept a safe in his house with lots of cash inside. So, the two decide to rob the place, LeaveNoWitnesses and head for Mexico with the cash. And that's what they do. Except for one small thing: there was no safe.

Capote originally started the book as an article on the massacre. He was able to interview both Smith and Hickock for the project shortly after their arrest. The huge amount of info he got led him to change course during development.

''In Cold Blood'' was adapted into a well-regarded 1967 film directed by Richard Brooks, starring Robert Blake as Smith and Scott Wilson as Hickock. It was also made into a TV miniseries in 1996 starring Anthony Edwards as Hickock and Eric Roberts as Smith. The [[MakingTheMasterpiece story of its creation]] was [[DuelingMovies told twice within a year]]: first as ''Film/{{Capote}}'' in 2005, and then as ''Infamous'' in 2006.

!!This work contains examples of:

* AbusiveParents: Perry's mother had a severe case of alcoholism and a tendency to bring home men whom she had sex with right in front of her children. Perry's father would have killed him if the shotgun hadn't misfired.
* AdultFear: In spades. Strangers have broken into your house, have captured and bound your family, and are about to rape your daughter... and there's not a thing you can do about it.
* AffablyEvil: While Smith is twitchy with barely suppressed rage, Hickok is a cheerful, affable murderer.
* CallBack: In the film, Perry tells about his rather odd fantasy of a giant yellow bird saving him from the abusive nuns at his school. When they're getting arrested, Dick says "Hey, Buddy, put in a call for that big, ol' Yellow Bird!"
* DeliberatelyMonochrome: By 1967, when most movies were being made in color, making this one in black and white was a deliberate artistic choice.
* {{Ephebophile}}: Dick Hickock. Perry even speculates that Nancy was "probably the real reason" he chose The Clutter Farm for the robbery.
** Later in the book he attempts to seduce a 12 year old girl on the beach, until Perry steps in.
* {{Epigraph}}: An excerpt from ''La Ballade des Pendus'' (the Ballad of the Hanged) by François Villon.
* FaceDeathWithDignity: Dick Hickock greets his captors and mounts the scaffold with grim dignity, never betraying any fear or despair.
* {{Flashback}}: A flashback in the film to Smith as a child, with his family at the rodeo.
* ForegoneConclusion: Clutter and his family are killed.
* GrayRainOfDepression: Rain hitting the window in the movie as Perry Smith sums up his sad life.
* ImagineSpot: Perry, a would-be guitarist and singer, imagines himself playing a Las Vegas show.
* InstantMysteryJustDeleteScene: It starts with the killers arriving at the Clutter farmhouse, and then goes to the aftermath. It goes back in time to explain why it happened.
* KickTheDog: Or more accurately, [[KickTheDog Run Over The Dog.]] While in Mexico, Dick sees an emaciated dog and runs over it with his car. He claims that it's a MercyKill, but his extremely apparent glee and excitement about it afterwards belies [[TheSociopath his true mental state.]]
* MatchCut: Several in the movie, as when Perry tossing a cigarette off a bridge is followed up by the cops dropping a magnet over a bridge in an attempt to find the murder weapons.
* MoralMyopia: Both Smith and Hickock feel they are treated unjustly by the townsfolk and the prosecution during the trial, but neither expresses any regret about killing the Clutters.
* OhCrap: When Dewey shows Dick [[spoiler: the bloody footprint and matching boot]], he knows the jig is up.
* PrecisionFStrike: The relaxing of censorship standards by 1967 with the death of UsefulNotes/TheHaysCode led to this being the first American film to use the word "bullshit".
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Dick gives a very blunt and cruel one to Perry in Mexico. He shatters Perry's fantasy of their "quest" to find lost Spanish Gold from some silly phony "treasure maps" and tells him to grow up.
** Also serves as a bit of a WhamLine: there IS no "plan," and no prospects to get them out of their current predicament (broke, wandering, homeless and wanted by the law).
* ThePerfectCrime: In Hickock's words, they thought their plan would be "a cinch, the perfect score."
* ShownTheirWork: The film was shot at the actual locations, including the actual Clutter house. The pictures on the walls are pictures of the real Clutters.
* TheRemake: The film was remade in 1996 as a TV Movie, which was far more faithful to the book.
* TemptingFate: Hickok, in the tradition of all dumb Vegas gamblers, proposes to Smith that they gamble their last $5 into a stake that will get them out of town. He says "I feel real lucky tonight." ''Immediately'' after those words escape his lips, they're pulled over by a cop, which eventually results in them being arrested for the Clutter murders.
* TrueCrime: Credited with establishing the modern form of the Genre.
* UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom: Floyd Wells. It all wouldn't have happened if he had kept his mouth shut about the safe.