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New documents spark questions over ''In Cold Blood'' book

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(Reuters) - Truman Capote's true-crime novel "In Cold Blood" is getting renewed attention after the Wall Street Journal reported it has found evidence raising questions about some details in the celebrated book.

The newspaper said it has reviewed a "long-forgotten cache" of documents from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation that casts doubt on the accuracy of two chapters in the book.

Published in 1966, Capote's best-selling novel details the 1959 murder of Herbert Clutter, a farmer in Holcomb, Kansas, and his wife and two of their children.

Capote, who died in 1984, frequently described the book as a "non-fiction novel" which was "immaculately factual," a claim that has prompted decades of debate since its publication.

In the book, Capote wrote that as soon as KBI officials received a tip about the location of two men who were later convicted of killing the Clutters, the agency immediately dispatched an agent to a Kansas farmhouse where one of the suspects had been living with his parents.

The documents, however, show the KBI instead waited five days to act on the tip, the Journal reported on Friday.

Another discrepancy, according to the Journal, involves the number of agents who eventually did visit the farm. The Journal said the documents show four lawmen traveled to the farm, not a single agent as Capote wrote.

The Journal said the new details emerged from papers it reviewed about the Clutter case that a now-deceased KBI agent carried home with him.

The papers are at the center of litigation between a son of the agent and the KBI, which claims ownership rights.

The newspaper also reported that it had reviewed a contract that shows Capote demanded Columbia Pictures offer the wife of the chief detective in the case a job as a consultant for the film version of the book.

The detective, Alvin Dewey, frequently defended the book's accuracy.

The two men who killed the Clutters, Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, were executed in 1965.

In December, their bodies were exhumed at the request of detectives investigating an unsolved Florida homicide that occurred a month after the Clutters were killed.

Investigators want to see if DNA from the men matches any evidence in the slaying of a family in Osprey, Florida. Hickock and Smith briefly stayed there while on the run after the Clutter killings. The results have not been released.

(Reporting by Kevin Gray; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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