Ripley is an unmistakable descendant of Gatsby, that penniless young man without a past who will stop at nothing. Frank Rich Now part of American film and literary lore, Tom Ripley, a bisexual psychopath and art forger who murders without remorse when his comforts are threatened (New York Times Book Review), was Patricia Highsmiths favorite creation. In these volumes, we find Ripley ensconced on a French estate with a wealthy wife, a world-class art collection, and a past to hide.
In Ripley Under Ground (1970), an art forgery goes awry and Ripley is threatened with exposure; in The Boy Who Followed Ripley (1980), Highsmith explores Ripleys bizarrely paternal relationship with a troubled young runaway, whose abduction draws them into Berlins seamy underworld; and in Ripley Under Water (1991), Ripley is confronted by a snooping American couple obsessed with the disappearance of an art collector who visited Ripley years before. More than any other American literary character, Ripley provides a lens to peer into the sinister machinations of human behavior (John Freeman, Pittsburgh Gazette). Tom Ripley has a lovely house in the French countryside, a beautiful and very rich wife, and an art collection worthy of a connoisseur.
But this gracious life has not come easily; it is based on murder, forgery, and smuggling, and could topple at any moment.