‘The Talented Mr Ripley’ by Patricia Highsmith

Since I was  a little girl, I heard a lot talking about this Mr Ripley.

That’s possibly because of the film starring Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow (The Talented Mr Ripley, 1999).

I had watched five minutes of it, then I left the room, possibly to read a book. I knew the story was set somewhere in Italy, I knew that he was visiting someone and I knew he was good at imitating people.

As strange result, for years I was convinced that Mr Ripley’s talent was that of imitating people and that his task in the story was to find his way to success.

In a very twisted way, I wasn’t far from the point.

Except my hypothesis of plot didn’t include murder, nor forgery. But let’s go with order.

Thomas Ripley is a fraud. For months – maybe for years – he’s been trying to trick people into sending him money, pretending to be someone he was not – sometimes a government agent, sometimes some tax officer.

In most cases, he ended up with checks he couldn’t even cash in.

Then Mr Greeleaf appears and with him the opportunity of his life: Would he agree to travel to Italy and bring back Mr Greeleaf beloved son Richard?

Tom has only a vague idea of who Richard is, but how could he say no to a paid trip to Europe?

Weeks later, he arrives in Mongibello, where he meets Dickie and his friend Marge.

From that moment on, his life will never be the same again. More literally than you would expect.


If you want to know more about this book: Goodreads

If you want to buy this book: Amazon



  1. I moved to Venice in 1999 and lived there for some years. My landlady (she was 90 years old) used to say that she had been a background actress in “The Talented Mr Ripley”. One evening there was this movie on TV and she placed herself in front of the television in order to control every scene. Obviously, she fell asleep after half an hour. She awoke to the sound of the last minutes: a Venetian steamboat was passing on the screen. She began to shout: “I am there! I am there! Don’t you see?!? I am there!” I was studying for my examination at the kitchen table and nearly fell down, terrorised. It took me some time to calm her down and I had to say that yes, obviously I had recognized her.

    Actually, neither I ve read the book, nor I’ve watched the movie. However, when I bump into the title “The Talented Mr Ripley”, something smiles inside me. I remember those Venetian days and that incredibly old lady. Perhaps I should read the book, sooner or later. She loved it.

  2. Ahahah!!! I can picture the scene… the book really deserves to be read. Maybe you should give the film another try as well, maybe you’ll spot the lovely Venetian lady – maybe in a completely different scene than the one she got so excited about! 😀

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