Thomas Phelps Ripley's amoral life began in 1955 when Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley first hit bookselves. Orphaned and raised by an abusive aunt, Tom developed a set of skills -- forgery, lying, impersonation -- that would set him off onto a successful life of crime, including identity theft, art forgery and murder. Such a sweet boy.
Highsmith followed her bad boy for 36 years, chronicling his dastardly doings and double dealings through a series of four additional books: Ripley Underground, Ripley's Game, The Boy Who Followed Ripley and Ripley Under Water.
In October, W.W. Norton will reissue the quintet in a hardcover boxed set selling for $100. With the paperbacks selling at $13.95 (and just try finding a copy of The Boy Who Followed Ripley at your local big box bookstore), this set will be a welcome additon to lovers of Highsmith's little monster.