Part 1, Chapters 16–22 Summary

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Nancy’s bedroom is decorated in pink, blue, and white. It is personalized with mementos and photographs. Her diary records major events in her life for the past four years.

Dick and Perry reach Holcomb and drive up to the Clutter home.

On Sunday morning, Nancy Ewalt (a friend of Nancy Clutter’s) arrives at the Clutter home. Her father dropped her off so she could go to church with the Clutter family. There is no response at any of the four doors. Disturbed, Nancy goes to Susan Kidwell’s home, and the two return to the Clutters. They go upstairs and find Nancy lying on her bed with blood splattering the wall. The girls run out, hysterical, and Nancy Ewalt’s father calls the police.

The sheriff arrives and sees that the phone line has been cut. Nancy has been bound by the hands and feet and shot through the back of her head. Mrs. Clutter is tied onto her bed and was shot in the side of her head. The sheriff wonders where Mr. Clutter and Kenyon are. The undersheriff finds Kenyon in the basement, bound just like his mother and tied onto the couch. He has been shot point blank in the face. In the furnace room, Mr. Clutter is tied up and lying on a large piece of cardboard, also shot in the face. The sheriff concludes that he was already dead, or nearly so, when he was shot because his throat had been slashed. A cord hanging from the steam pipe signifies that at some point, Mr. Clutter had been tied to the pipe. It is unknown what kind of torture was inflicted upon him.

The townspeople see two ambulances drive off in the direction of the Clutter home. Police, lawyers, and so forth are called out of church on this Sunday morning. Soon the whole town learns the awful truth. Mrs. Clare immediately suspects the person Mr. Clutter sued for crash-landing a plane into his peach trees. Susan Kidwell runs out to tell Bobby Rupp because she does not want him to just hear it as gossip, but Bobby already knows. She finds him outside, standing in shock. When she comes near him, he begins to cry. Later, Bobby learns that already he was considered the prime suspect. The two other Clutter daughters, along with the rest of the relations, are notified and make their way toward Holcomb. The news is broadcast from the Garden City radio station.

In Olathe, Perry sleeps in a hotel room, his bloody boots soaking in the sink. Dick arrives at his parents’ home and joins them for Sunday dinner. Afterward, he and his father watch the ball game on television. Dick’s father is surprised when he looks over and sees Dick fast asleep.

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Part 1, Chapters 9–15 Summary


Part 2, Chapters 1–4 Summary