From the Back Cover:
For more than four decades, Patricia Highsmith has developed her unique mastery of suspense - not least in her renowned cycle of novels featuring Tom Ripley. Now, with the fifth in that series and her first new novel in five years, she demonstrates yet again her ability, as Graham Greene wrote, "to create a world of her own, a world claustrophobic and irrational which we enter each time with a sense of personal danger". Though his talent for evil has in no way diminished, Tom Ripley has aged, even mellowed. Now leading the good life in the French countryside, complete with chic wife and devoted housekeeper, he is more interested in his wine stores than the bloodstains on the cellar floor. Then a meddlesome American couple takes up residence in the same village. Though at first the Pritchards seem a mere curiosity, their taste as execrable as their manners, they are annoyingly well informed about incidents in Ripley's past and almost smug about flaunting their knowledge. This, of course, disturbs the tranquillity of the charmed, cultured life for which Tom has worked so hard, and he has no choice but to bedevil the Pritchards in return. Thus begins a spirited, sophisticated game of cat and mouse that leads to Tangier and London and back again, to the pond behind the Pritchards' house. It is Ripley at his most suave and devious - and Patricia Highsmith in peak form. For her aficionados, Ripley Under Water is utterly essential - and for readers new to her work, a spectacular introduction to "a natural novelist" (John Gross, The New York Times).
About 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.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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