When I saw The Talented Mr. Ripley movie in 1999, I had no idea it was based on a novel by the same author of the famous Hitchcock movie, Strangers on a Train. I loved both movies. When I finally did learn that, I also learned that the author, Patricia Highsmith, wrote five novels starring the sociopathic anti-hero Tom Ripley. (The novels are known as the Ripliad.)

Written in 1955, The Talented Mr. Ripley is about a twentysomething con artist and social striver named Tom Ripley living in New York. He is allergic to honest work, but loves the finer things in life -- nice clothes, luxury travel, and perfecting the fine art of doing nothing. How fortunate for Tom that a man tracks him down and asks him to travel to Sicily to convince his wannabe-artist son to come back and join the lucrative family business. The man thinks that Tom is a close friend of his son, and Tom does nothing to correct the false impression (he barely knows him), because he's eager to take an expense-paid trip to Europe.

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