Part 2, Chapters 5–10 Summary

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Susan Kidwell explains that she and Nancy Clutter were like sisters. She does not go to school until after the funeral. Neither does Bobby Rupp. He and Susan spend time grieving together; Bobby swears that he will never love another girl. The two of them go to the funeral home for the viewing. They see the four open caskets. Each head is completely wrapped in cotton. Susan sees that Nancy is in a dress for which she had helped pick out the material. She is overcome and rushes out and waits for Bobby. All she can think about is Nancy in that red velvet dress.

Perry reads the account of the Clutter funeral in the Kansas City Star. Over a thousand people attended, which impresses Perry. He and Dick pass bad checks in purchasing several items, which they then pawn to get cash. Dick feels bad because he knows that when those checks come due and he is in Mexico, his father will feel that he has to make good on them. Perry speaks of their intended sojourn in Mexico. He wants to go to Costa Rica and search for sunken treasure.

Alvin Dewey’s life is wrapped up in the murder investigation. He and his family cannot sleep because the phone is constantly ringing with people trying to help or else drunks claiming they are the murderers but want the reward money offered by the local paper before they turn themselves in. He puzzles over the crime scene. Only a radio and a few dollars are missing, which makes the motive of robbery puzzling. He wonders at the cardboard under Mr. Clutter’s body and the blankets tucked around Nancy and Mrs. Clutter. He concludes that these were pathetic means to make the Clutters comfortable before they were killed. Dewey suggests to his wife that they send their two boys to stay with their grandmother. Mrs. Dewey wants to know if their lives will ever be the same again.

Dick and Perry pull out of Kansas City; the back seat of the car is full of things to pawn along the way. Perry is relieved when they cross the border into Oklahoma. He does not have any regrets, but he knows that Dick is leaving behind his parents, a brother, and his three sons.

Beverly Clutter, the second oldest daughter, moves up the date of her wedding to the weekend after the funeral. All the family is present for the memorial service, so she decides it would be better than making them all come back in a month. Herb Clutter’s brother writes a letter to the Garden City Telegram begging people to cease talking of vengeance, which can be found only in the hands of God.

Dick and Perry reach Mexico. Perry begins to question how they could possibly have done such a terrible thing. He says there must be something wrong with them. Dick assures him that he is normal.

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Part 2, Chapters 1–4 Summary


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