At the centre of Music for Chameleons is Handcarved Coffins, a `nonfiction novel' based on the brutal crimes of a real-life murderer.Taking place in a small Midwestern town in America, it offers chilling insights into the mind of a killer and the obsession of the man bringing him to justice. Also in this volume are six short stories and seven `conversational portraits' including a touching one of Marilyn Monroe, the `beautiful child' and a hilarious one of a dope-smoking cleaning lady doing her rounds in New York.
Truman Capote was born in New Orleans in 1925 and was raised in various parts of the south, his family spending winters in New Orleans and summers in Alabama and New Georgia. By the age of fourteen he had already started writing short stories, some of which were published. He left school when he was fifteen and subsequently worked for the New Yorker which provided his first - and last - regular job. Following his spell with the New Yorker, Capote spent two years on a Louisiana farm where he wrote Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948). He lived, at one time or another, in Greece, Italy, Africa and the West Indies, and travelled in Russia and the Orient. He is the author of many highly praised books, including A Tree of Night and Other Stories (1949), The Grass Harp (1951), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958), In Cold Blood (1965), which immediately became the centre of a storm of controversy on its publication, Music for Chameleons (1980) and Answered Prayers (1986), all of which are published by Penguin. Truman Capote died in August 1984.