Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Ripley Under Ground

Some dodgy mates in London's art world call up Tom Ripley at Belle Ombre and ask him to help them sort out a mess.

He does so, by creating a much bigger one. The Police seem to suspect him from the start but he manages to stay ahead of them thanks in part to his ability to move around the continent at will, the slowness of early 70s telecommunications, an amoral wife and a dedicated French housekeeper.

The original mess in question is something that 'Tome' is at least partly responsible for. (They are collectively reaping the proceeds of forged paintings puporting to be the work of the long dead Philip Derwatt, a scam that Ripley himself had originally suggested.)

The plot is as itinerant as Ripley himself and you end up feeling quite strongly that he deserves to be rumbled, but the book is enjoyable for its further insights into its protagonist's tastes and character, even if it falls some way short of the quality of The Talented Mr Ripley and the later Ripley's Game.

It was made into a movie starring Barry Pepper which seems to have sunk without trace.

No comments: