Dave Conquers 80% of the Ripliad!

At the start of Patricia Highsmith's fourth Tom Ripley novel (The Boy Who Followed Ripley) our asexual Gatsby of murderers has settled down comfortably in Belle Ombre, his French estate, with his native wife Heloise . . . but he soon acquires a protege-- an American runaway teen who confesses that he murdered his wealthy father-- and Ripley actually attempts to coach and counsel the boy, who not only feels guilt over the murder but is also lovelorn, but in the end Ripley isn't particularly successful-- you'll have to read the book to see why-- and while this isn't as much of a page turner as the others in the series, there is a wonderful tour of the gay bars of West Berlin, their flamboyance heightened by the looming presence of the Wall, and my favorite moment of the novel is when Ripley feigns sleep on a plane so he can pretend to stretch and trip an unruly American boy who is running amok in the aisle . . . the passenger across the way sees through Ripley's ruse and nods subtly at him in approval of the elegant method he used to exact his punishment: eight wheelchairs out of ten.

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