Ripley Under Ground|
Vintage, Paperback, 05 August, 1999
Author: Patricia Highsmith
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A Married Ripley Dabbles in Double Dealing
Ripley Under Ground is the second book in the Ripley series. The book suffers in comparison with the astonishing first book in the series, The Talented Mr. Ripley. Perhaps no sequel could hope to have matched that fine book's character development and intricate, exciting plot. By comparison, Ripley Under Ground could be renamed Ripley in Slow Motion with a Yawn. Character development is much less in this book and the plot is much less intricate and exciting.
As the book opens, we find that the sexually neuter Ripley from The Talented Mr. Ripley has turned into a married Ripley who has a wealthy wife who's on vacation in Greece. A scam that he started before he married and after The Talented Mr. Ripley has come back to haunt him. Ripley had helped set up a ring to forge portraits by a dead artist and to pretend the artist is still alive. A collector is challenging the authenticity of a painting he bought which is a forgery. Ripley decides to come to London to impersonate the artist. But that doesn't work so Ripley has to find some new method to solve the problem. Otherwise, his wife's family will probably give him the old heave-ho. They would never have agreed to the marriage in the first place, but the pair eloped and presented the family with a fait accompli.
One of the weakest elements in this book is the heavy use of impersonations. It's just too much to be totally credible. That was the weakest part of The Talented Mr. Ripley, but here Ms. Highsmith goes off the deep end in that regard.
I did like the little character development that occurred. Ripley starts to develop some feelings for other people, even if they are not deep ones. He's not quite the amoral monster he was before, but he certainly looks out for number one first. It was interesting to see how he starts to trust others, which he did not do before.
If you have not yet read The Talented Mr. Ripley, please read that book instead. It's a much better book, and you will enjoy this one more if you read that one first. This book has several delicious ironies in it that you won't appreciate without the contrast of The Talented Mr. Ripley.
May your every day above ground be a great one!
Another adventure with Patricia Highsmith’s lovely character Thomas Ripley. This book follows the author’s“The Talented Mr Ripley” so that the reader is already acquainted with most of the protagonists like Dick and Chris Greenleaf, Bernard Murchisson or Tom’s wife Heloise. When Ed Banbury and Jeff Constant, owners of the Buckmaster Gallery in London, decide to open a new show featuring paintings by the famous Derwatt, the situation becomes uncomfortable when the American collector, Murchisson, claims that a painting he bought three years ago is a fake. Knowing that Derwatt died years ago in Greece and that Bernard had been forging paintings by“Derwatt”, allegedly living in a remote village in Mexico, it will take all of Ripley’s talent to clean the reputation of the Buckmaster Gallery, as Murchisson’s visit to London is imminent. Mrs Highsmith’s highly successful ingredients are all present in this novel: crime, horror, humour and suspense.
Ripley Under Ground
This second Ripley novel sees our 'hero' Tom Ripley settled in France with his wife, Heloise, about 6 years after the Dickie Greenleaf affair in Italy described in The Talented Mr Ripley.
Complicit in a fraud to fake the paintings of the in-fact dead Derwatt, Ripley must take action when the police begin to suspect that the 'new' Derwatts (supposedly painted by the artist while living in seclusion in Mexico) are faked. Donning a fake beard, Ripley makes an appearance as Derwatt at the Buckmaster Gallery in London attracting the attention of a certain American Derwatt collector, Murchison.
Ripley Under Ground revisits the black humour seen first in The Talented Mr Ripley, and begins to develop more fully the complex character of Tom Ripley who now has to contend with combining murder and deceit with his domestic life at 'Belle Ombre'.