The Talented Mr. Ripley (1956) by Patricia Highsmith
From the original review in the Bridgeport Telegram, February 1956. Tom Ripley, hero of this story by Patricia Highsmith, is indeed talented, in peculiar ways. His are the talents which make a successful criminal ingenuity, a flair for luxury, the ability to turn any situation to his own benefit. A chance meeting in a New York bar becomes for him an avenue to easy living in Italy — on someone else’s money.
Curiously enough, he has few gifts beside the aforementioned, and few real interests. He has no friends of either sex; he is a completely self-centered individual who believes in taking what he can get.
As his Italian mission draws to a close, unaccomplished, Ripley soon sees that it has become necessary to turn to murder to secure a continuation of his very pleasant position. He is not one to blanch at such a necessity. Soon he is involved in the precarious business of covering up his tracks.
Having brought all his ingenuity into play, our hero is on the verge of safety when an unlucky break forces him to murder again. The Italian police are soon scouring the country for the criminal. But, due to some clever planning, they are now searching for the wrong man.
As the suspense swiftly mounts, Ripley boldly manipulates the principals in the dangerous plot to secure his skin. Painstakingly he builds up his proofs of innocence, adapting his actions to quick changes in the situation.
With great success the author builds up the tension which surrounds a hunted man. Readers of Highsmith’s other well-known novels of suspense will not be disappointed by The Talented Mr. Ripley.
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