Part 1, Chapters 5–8 Summary

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Dick pulls up in his car and Perry jumps in, making sure his guitar is still in the back seat from the night before. He sees a shotgun along with an assortment of other hunting gear. Dick explains that, if stopped, they will pretend to be hunters who have become lost and need directions. Dick is wearing coveralls from his job at a body shop. He and Perry proceed to do some maintenance on the car in preparation for their trip. Dick explains that he was late because his father gave him a hard time after he explained that he and Perry were going to Fort Scott to visit Perry’s sister. Perry says he thinks Dick’s mother is a “real sweet person,” and Dick agrees.

Nancy Clutter helps thirteen-year-old Jolene bake a cherry pie at the Clutter home. She is unable to stay to help eat the pie, however, and takes off on one of her other “missions of mercy.” Mrs. Clutter stays to entertain Jolene. She shows the girl some of the small gifts Mr. Clutter brought her from his many traveling trips. When Jolene leaves, Mrs. Clutter goes to her room. With nothing to do while the others are away, she puts on her nightgown and socks and goes to bed. She is always cold and does not open the windows, even in the summer. One day, Susan’s mother had stayed behind while most of the family and other guests went mulberry picking. She heard Mrs. Clutter sobbing in her bedroom. When she went to her, she found Mrs. Clutter locked in her stifling bedroom. She claimed she was freezing and begged her not to tell the others.

Following their automotive maintenance, Dick and Perry clean up; both are very fastidious. Dick has numerous tattoos, many of which were self-inflicted. He is muscled from his stint in prison but bears the scars of injuries from the past. Perry was also injured, in a motorcycle accident. His tattoos are less numerous but more elaborate. When they are cleaned up, they climb in their car and take off down the road from Olathe.

In Garden City, Herb Clutter attends the 4-H Club and nominates Mrs. Hideo Ashida to receive a special award at the upcoming Achievement Banquet. Mrs. Ashida and her husband and children moved to the area from Holcomb. They have been welcomed into the ethnically diverse community around Garden City, and Mrs. Ashida is known for her soup and flowers. Mr. Clutter gives her and her children a ride home after the meeting. She tells him that her husband is thinking of improving his opportunities in Nebraska. Mr. Clutter urges her not to leave.

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Part 1, Chapters 1–4 Summary


Part 1, Chapters 9–15 Summary