The fifth and final CD in the Ripley Mysteries series was probably the most enjoyable as all. Ripley Under Water begins splendidly, with Tom receiving a phone call, supposedly from Dickie Greenleaf – the first person he murdered, years ago.
It soon becomes apparent that someone is obsessed with Tom – and it proves to be a new neighbour, a fellow American called Pritchard, who has moved in to the village with his brittle wife. Pritchard, it seems, is a sadist who beats up his wife every now and then. He has found out about Tom’s murky past, and is determined to subject him to mental torture.
Tom is, of course, not a good man to cross, and before long he is pitting his wits against Pritchard. It becomes increasingly clear that both men cannot survive. But who will be victor, and who the vanquished? And how many other people will suffer collateral damage?
I thought this story was beautifully done. The ending wasn’t entirely satisfactory, to my mind, but it was elegant and certainly in keeping with Highsmith’s eccentric yet fascinating style of story-telling
The five CDs in this set make for great, off-beat listening. Even if you are not an ardent Highsmith fan, I think you will probably enjoy them.