The book is divided into three sections. Part one, titled "Music for Chameleons", includes the short story after which the section and book are named, as well as five other stories ("Mr. Jones", "A Lamp in a Window", "Mojave", "Hospitality" and "Dazzle"). Part two, the core of the book, consists of a single piece: "Handcarved Coffins", supposedly a "nonfiction account of an American crime" that suggests certain parallels with his best-known work, the difference being that Capote did not include himself as a character in the narrative when he wrote In Cold Blood. In the third section, "Conversational Portraits", Capote recalls his encounters with Pearl Bailey, Bobby Beausoleil, Willa Cather, Marilyn Monroe and others. These seven essays are titled "A Day's Work", "Hello, Stranger", "Hidden Gardens", "Derring-Do", "Then It All Came Down", "A Beautiful Child" and "Nocturnal Turnings."
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