Friday, September 7, 2012

The Talented Mr Ripley - Patricia Highsmith

Title: The Talented Mr Ripley
Author: Patricia Highsmith
Publication information: Vintage

This book is a classic murder mystery about Tom Ripley who just wants money, success and a good life, and he's willing to kill for it.

This book is essentially a murder mystery but it isn't as straight forward as some classic mysteries that I have read. I have recently over the past few months become very interested in mystery novels since reading Barry Durham's The Demdike Legacy. On my edition of this book, The Sunday Times have been quoted saying "as haunting and harrowing a study of a schizophrenic murderer as paper will bear". To be honest this is completely accurate as there were some parts of this book where I was genuinely disturbed. I won't say what happens in this as it is a mystery but the plot captivated me from the start, because even though it doesn't pick up until about halfway through, the beginning builds up so much tension that it just keeps you turning pages.

Tom Ripley, the protagonist, is one of the most charismatic yet disturbing characters that I have ever read about. Again, I can't really say much without spoiling it but I love all of the characters and was happy to be given enough back story for each one. It is unusual for a novel to be centered around the murderer rather than the mystery behind them which makes The Talented Mr Ripley quite unique.

I think this book is well paced and the language used is perfect for this type of story. The poetic descriptions of Italy really sets the scene and contrasts with the more dramatic scenes. Although this is an adult publication, I think that it would also be suitable for teenage readers.

I would give this book 5 out of 5 stars and would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading mysteries.

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