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Ripley Under Ground (1970)

by Patricia Highsmith

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Tom Ripley (2)

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1,1892412,347 (3.64)70
Traditional Chinese edition of Ripley Under Ground, a Patricia Highsmith novel that portrays a talented murderer. The 2nd of the Ripley novels. In Chinese. Distributed by Tsai Fong Books, Inc.
  1. 00
    Ripley Under Water by Patricia Highsmith (KayCliff)
  2. 00
    The Reaper by Peter Lovesey (ehines)
    ehines: Guiltily cheer on the exploits of a clever, amoral (but in his own way fastidious) serial killer.

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Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Even knowing that Ripley must be getting away with it all in order for there to be still three books in the series, the atmosphere remains tense and delicate, with every hastily-made murder plan on the verge of disintegrating at the lightest witness/police probing.

The plot was interesting enough and exquisitely done, with the focus more on the unexpected psychological character studies, as well as some really astute reimagining of events by Highsmith-Ripley to come up with a plausible alibi for Ripley. The most delightful character is Heloise whose temperamental and moral childishness made her a perfect fit for her sociopathic husband. Moreover, in the same way that it's soothing to watch opulent period dramas, it was very wonderful to read about Ripley going about his gentleman-of-the-manor hobbies and jetsetting to various of his malevolent designs with no working-life worries. In fact, I'd be happy to read a book of no-murder Ripley just doing some gardening and painting and buying English pyjamas for his wife and going to dinners with his neighbours.

Aside: It's indicated in the book that lots of the interactions were conducted in various levels of French, which makes me wonder how the translator has managed this for the French edition of this book. ( )
  kitzyl | Jun 16, 2021 |
Suicide magnet
asking too many questions?
must've been depressed. ( )
  Eggpants | Jun 25, 2020 |
Tom Ripley is now a very contented man, with a beautiful home in the French countryside, a gorgeous and very rich wife, and an excellent art collection complete with very useful contacts in the London art world. But one day an American arrives at the London art gallery, worried that a painting he has bought is a forgery and, since Tom has a couple of paintings by the same artist, the American proposes that they join forces to discover the truth. Tom, of course, already knows the truth and anyway, it’s never ever a good idea for anyone to suggest working together with him…. I think this story is set somewhere in the mid 1960s, or perhaps a bit earlier, and it is full of period details such as the ways in which one made international telephone calls (it involves waiting for the callee to call back) and the ease of travel between a number of European countries. As ever with this series, the main character is absolutely enthralling in his utter lack of compunction about anything and his thoroughly sociopathic nature. I still think the first book, The Talented Mr. Ripley, is the best, but this one carries on the tradition nicely. Recommended. ( )
  thefirstalicat | Jun 8, 2019 |
“Honestly, I don't understand why people get so worked up about a little murder!”

This is the sequel of 'The Talented Mr Ripley' and picks up Tom's life six years later. He's in his early 30s, married and living in a grand villa outside of Paris paid for by his wife's family money. Tom spends his time pottering about, gardening, painting and improving his French. This is the life that he believes he was born for and deserves.

However, Tom is also involved in a lucrative scam selling forged paintings. When an American threatens to expose the scam Tom decides to take matters into his own hands to resolve the situation. Initially by persuasion but when that fails murder.

Anyone who has read the first book will not be surprised to hear that there is a death in this book also so I'm not giving too much away by saying so. In fact there are two. There is a certain black comedy to the first death or perhaps more accurately as to how Tom goes about disposing with the body that is in stark contrast with what he does with the second one. In contrast with the first victim the second body Tom actually wants to be found but how he deals with it is pretty gruesome.

As with the first book Highsmith goes to great effort to show the two sides of Ripley's personality. On one hand he is a likeable, personable if self-indulgent young man who only murders out of necessity because someone has made the mistake of threatening his freedom but he also has a very dark, sinister side to it. There is a stark difference between his urbane exterior to the darkness that lurks within. He is undoubtedly a socio-path with numerous twists and turns to his personality.

One of the pleasures of these books is to see what lengths Tom will go to to outwit the law. Also the author wants to illuminate the perceived dark deaths that lurk beneath the thin surface of civilization. However, unlike in the first book I really struggled to see any redeeming sides to Tom's character finding him shallow and self-obsessed. He is certainly no highly educated and engaging Hannibal Lector . This in turn meant that whilst I found this an OK swift read it was nothing more than that. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Mar 6, 2018 |
3.5 stars

In this sequel to The Talented Mr. Ripley, Tom Ripley is married and living in France. A few years back, he concocted a scheme where, although a painter had died, someone was rounded up to paint in that painter’s name, as if he was still alive and a recluse. There was a gallery in London that sold this painter’s paintings, there were art supplies and a school of art all in this (dead) painter’s name. But when an American suspects he has bought a forgery and wants to come to London to prove it, Tom must stop this from happening…

This pulled me in early on. There was a bit of a lull in the middle for me, but it picked up again at the end. It was good and I do plan to continue the series. ( )
2 vote LibraryCin | Nov 23, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patricia Highsmithprimary authorall editionscalculated
Burns, TomIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I think I would more readily die for what I do not believe in than for what I hold to be true...
Sometimes I think that the artistic life is a long and lovely suicide, and I am not sorry that it is so.

- Oscar Wilde in his Personal letters
To my Polish neighbours, Agnès and Georges Barylski, my friends of France, 77.
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Tom was in the garden when the telephone rang.
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Traditional Chinese edition of Ripley Under Ground, a Patricia Highsmith novel that portrays a talented murderer. The 2nd of the Ripley novels. In Chinese. Distributed by Tsai Fong Books, Inc.

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