Part 3, Chapters 5–8 Summary

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Detective Harold Nye travels to Las Vegas and interviews a boarding house manager. Nye was able to track Perry Smith to this address. He now questions the manager about her former boarder. He tells her that Perry was in violation of his parole, but she does not believe his lie. She still has a box of belongings Perry left in her care. When they examine it, they find very little except odds and ends, a scrapbook containing pictures of weightlifters, and numerous bottles of aspirin. The next day, Nye goes in search of Perry’s father, Tex John Smith, but he has gone to Alaska. The post office clerk only knows that Smith used to be with the rodeo and dressed the part. He describes Perry from the one time he came to visit his father.

In San Francisco, Nye (who is now joined by Inspector Guthrie) visits Barbara Johnson, Perry’s only surviving sister. She is decent, middle-class, and married with three children. She is expecting guests when the two detectives arrive. She tells them that she has not seen Perry for four years and does not want to be in contact with him. She explains that she is scared of him and has been for years. She tells them that Perry does not know she moved from Denver to San Francisco—and she does not want him to know this. Nye and Guthrie learn that she has never lived in Fort Scott. When they leave, she reflects on Perry’s childhood. As a baby, he had been her special “toy,” and she had cared for him diligently. When he reached school age, Perry changed. He was first arrested at the age of eight. He became bitter toward their parents and finally told Barbara that he hated all of them. Barbara now keeps her door locked.

Perry and Dick have reached Iowa, where they stay in a barn to wait out the rain. Dick wants to return to Kansas City because he thinks it is the best place to pass bad checks. In the barn, the two men find a car with the keys still in it.

Dewey keeps his new leads a secret from the community in Garden City, claiming it might be possible that Richard Hickock and Perry Smith are innocent. The inhabitants are still full of conjectures and rumors. Mrs. Hartman is tired of it all and tells people that if they want to discuss the murders they can go elsewhere.

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