Ripley under Water (Mr. Ripley Series #5)

Overview

Tom Ripley passes his leisured days at his French country estate tending the dahlias, practicing the harpsichord, and enjoying the company of his lovely wife, Heloise. Never mind the bloodstains on the basement floor.

But some new neighbors have moved to Villeperce: the Pritchards, just arrived from America. they are a ghastly pair, with vulgar manners and even more vulgar taste. Most inconvenient, though, is their curiosity. Ripley does, ...
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Ripley Under Water

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Overview

Tom Ripley passes his leisured days at his French country estate tending the dahlias, practicing the harpsichord, and enjoying the company of his lovely wife, Heloise. Never mind the bloodstains on the basement floor.

But some new neighbors have moved to Villeperce: the Pritchards, just arrived from America. they are a ghastly pair, with vulgar manners and even more vulgar taste. Most inconvenient, though, is their curiosity. Ripley does, after all, have a few things to hide. When menacing coincidences begin to occur, a spiraling contest of sinister hints and mutual terrorism ensues, resulting in one of Patricia Highsmith's most elegantly harrowing novels to date.

Tom Ripley leads a life of luxury at his chateau in Villeperce. He passes his days gardening, practicing the piano, and enjoying the company of his lovely wife. Never mind the blood-stains in the basement. But now he has new neighbors: a vulgar and curious American couple who, Ripley fears, may discover his secrets.

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Editorial Reviews

Julian Symond
This is the least good of the Ripley books, one in which the distinctly undramatic climax suggests that Patricia Highsmith is no longer much involved with her criminal creation. -- New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With the chilling, knife-edged subtlety that is her trademark, Highsmith ( Strangers on a Train ; Ripley's Game ) details the civilized life pursued by her sociopath hero Tom Ripley, who here makes his fifth appearance and his first in a dozen years. Now living in the French countryside with his wife, Heloise, Ripley is bothered by an obnoxious American couple who have rented a house nearby and who seem bent on exploring incidents in Ripley's past. With no apparent personal motive, David Pritchard and his wife Janice refer to an American art dealer named Murchison who mysteriously disappeared some years ago after visiting Ripley. Ripley, who had murdered Murchison to prevent the exposure of an art forgery scheme and then dumped his body in a nearby canal, grows increasingly anxious and angry as Pritchard continues to harass him and begins dredging the local canals. Highsmith leads up to her resolution as unsensationally and evenhandedly as she describes Ripley's ordinary days spent tending his dahlias, practicing Schubert on the harpsichord, relishing his meals and looking out tenderly for Heloise and their housekeeper. The perfect gentleman, he is civil, considerate, utterly well mannered--and deadly. Highsmith will make readers look closer at their neighbors, and at themselves. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Not many mysteries feature a murderer as a protagonist, but Highsmith's popular series featuring the cultivated psychopath Tom Ripley (e.g., The Talented Mr. Ripley, Audio Reviews, LJ 4/1/91) is an exception. In this sortie, Ripley is quietly enjoying his lovely home in the French countryside when it appears his past may be catching up with him. He receives a phone call ostensibly from someone he knows he murdered; and then there are those creepy new neighbors who have ties to some of Ripley's enemies. Well written and charming, this unabridged audiobook is likely to please public library patrons. One caveat: since this is a British production, narrator Geoffrey Matthews must spend much time affecting American accents for Ripley and his nemesis, which may turn off some listeners.-Reilly Reagan, Putnam Cty. Lib., Cookeville, Tenn.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679748090
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/28/1993
  • Series: Mr. Ripley Series , #5
  • Edition description: First Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 309
  • Product dimensions: 5.19 (w) x 7.98 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Highsmith (1921 – 1995) was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up in New York. She was educated at the Julia Richmond High School in Manhattan and then at Columbia University, where she earned her B.A. in 1942. Her first novel, Strangers on a Train (1950), tells the story of a tennis player and a psychotic who meet on a train and agree to swap murders. The terrifying tale caught the attention of director Alfred Hitchcock, who, with Raymond Chandler, filmed it in 1951. Both the book and the resulting movie are considered to be classics of the crime genre. Highsmith’s subsequent novels, particularly five featuring the dashing forger/murderer Tom Ripley, have been vastly popular and critically acclaimed. In 1957 Highsmith won the coveted French Grand Prix de Litterature Policiere and in 1964 was awarded the Silver Dagger by the British Crime Writers Association. A reclusive person, Highsmith spent much of her life alone. She moved permanently to Europe in 1963 and spent her final years in an isolated house near Locarno on the Swiss-Italian border. Upon her death, Highsmith left three million dollars of her estate to Yaddo, the artist community in upstate New York.

Biography

Suspense novels are often described as "chilling," but no one turns down the reader's emotional thermostat quite like Patricia Highsmith, author of such haunting psychological thrillers as Strangers on a Train and creator of the sociopathic series protagonist Tom Ripley. During her life, Highsmith was a popular author in Europe, where she lived; in her native United States, however, her books went sporadically in and out of print for decades. Now, the writer whom Graham Greene called "the poet of apprehension" has finally gained recognition in the States -- not only as a master of the suspense genre, but as a literary author of rare talent.

Highsmith grew up in Texas and New York, but spent most of her adult life in England, France and Switzerland. By most accounts she was a loner who avoided other people, including other writers; but she did have early help in her career from Truman Capote, who got her a stint at the Yaddo writers' colony in New York. Her first novel, Strangers on a Train, tells the story of an architect and a psychopath who meet on a train and "swap" murders. The book gained Highsmith considerable fame, especially after it was made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock. A second novel, The Price of Salt, was printed under a pseudonym after her first publishers turned it down. Though her subsequent works didn't sell well in her home country, she kept turning out the kinds of novels and short stories the New Yorker called "bad dreams that keep us thrashing for the rest of the night."

Several movies have been loosely based on Highsmith's books, including Danny DeVito's Hitchcock spoof Throw Momma From the Train; Wim Wenders' The American Friend, adapted from Ripley's Game; and Purple Noon, a French film based on The Talented Mr. Ripley. But it was Academy Award-winning director Anthony Minghella's lush screen adaptation of The Talented Mr. Ripley, released four years after Highsmith's death and 44 years after the book's publication, that introduced Highsmith to a wider audience and led to a rediscovery of her works.

Subtle enough for a seminar yet entertaining enough for the beach, Highsmith's coolly narrated tales of terror display an observant eye for social behavior as well as individual psychology. Most books in the suspense genre provide a hero whose fundamental honesty and decency stand as bulwarks against the evil he or she confronts. But in a Highsmith novel, the reader is alone with victim and victimizer -- and an unsettling sense of empathy with both.

As Francis Wyndham has noted, Highsmith's "peculiar brand of horror comes less from the inevitability of disaster, than from the ease with which it might have been avoided. The evil of her agents is answered by the impotence of her patients -- this is not the attraction of opposites, but in some subtle way the call of like to like. When they finally clash in the climactic catastrophe, the reader's sense of satisfaction may derive from sources as dark as those which motivate Patricia Highsmith's destroyers and their fascinated victims."

Good To Know

Patricia Highsmith was born Mary Patricia Plangman; her parents divorced soon after she was born, however, and she was given her stepfather's last name. After Highsmith graduated from college, she lived for a time with her mother and stepfather in Greenwich Village, where she wrote comic books to support herself, including scripts for the Superman series.

A lesbian herself, Highsmith is thought to have written the first American novel in which a homosexual love story has a happy ending. The novel, The Price of Salt, was published under the pseudonym Claire Morgan; it was reissued in 1984 (as Carol), but didn't appear under the writer's real name until 1991.

Highsmith once told an interviewer that the only suspense writer she read was the master -- Dostoevsky, over and over. In her book Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction, she wrote, "I think most of Dostoyevsky's books would be called suspense books, were they being published today for the first time. But he would be asked to cut, because of production costs."

The premise of The Talented Mr. Ripley was inspired by Henry James's The Ambassadors, in which a widow sends her fiance from America to Paris to fetch her wayward son.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Mary Patricia Plangman (birth name); Claire Morgan (pen name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 19, 1921
    2. Place of Birth:
      Fort Worth, Texas
    1. Date of Death:
      February 4, 1995
    2. Place of Death:
      Locarno, Switzerland

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2002

    Couldn't put it down

    I loved all of the Ripley books, and most of all this one. I couldn't put it down. If you have read any of the other Ripley books pick this one up!!!

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