Tom Ripley is living a comfortable life in the outskirts of Paris. He lives off his earnings from the previous exploits and a huge allowance from his father-in-law. The novel opens up with a proposal put forward by one of his friends, Reeves Minot. Reeves wants to assassinate two key members of the Italian Mafia and dissuade the Italians from entering into Hamburg, Germany. Ripley is not interested in spite of the huge rewards.
Later, Ripley remembers a snooty neighbor, Jonathan Trevanny. Jonathan is the local picture framer who is struggling with a failing business and a fatal illness. So, Ripley plays a game with Jonathan. Reeves is made to approach Jonathan with the offer. Slowly, the people and circumstances are manipulated by Ripley through Reeves to get Jonathan interested in taking up the hit.
Jonathan successfully kills one Mafia member. After he gets part of the money, Reeves again approaches Jonathan for the second kill. This time, the murder weapon is crude. Jonathan is reluctant. Reeves consults Ripley again and gets Jonathan to agree. But, this time, Ripley has to interfere. After Ripley and Jonathan executes the second hit, the Italian Mafia figures out the entire plot. Now, Reeves is on the run and Ripley notices new faces in his quiet town.
Patricia Highsmith tells us the story through the eyes of Ripley and Jonathan. The story is devoid of a elaborate plots and subplots. Patricia concentrates on the simple narrative delving into the minds of Ripley and Jonathan. In Ripley, she gives us a man capable of violence in cold blood devoid of any sentiments.
This is a very interesting read.
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