The Talented Mr. Ripley


Patricia Highsmith

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The Talented Mr. Ripley: Chapter 22 Summary & Analysis

The following morning, the papers say that Dickie is “exposing himself to suspicion of participation” and must present himself to the authorities in order to be cleared of that suspicion. Tom decides that he needs to identify himself as soon as possible. Tom goes to the nearest police station, where the Roman police are telephoned. A representative is scheduled to arrive at eight that evening. Tom spends the rest of the day in his room, and just after eight he receives a call that Tenente Roverini of the Rome police is downstairs. Tom asks for the concierge to send the investigator up.
Now that Dickie is a suspect in two murders, Tom is almost eager to resume life as himself. He contacts the police in order to commit fully to his next planned deception, which requires him to appear ignorant of the madness he himself has wrought.
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The tenente questions Tom as to the last place he saw Dickie, and as to where he himself has been. When the tenente tells Tom that there is no record of him having stayed in any hotels, Tom tells him that he often slept in his car. The tenente asks Tom why Dickie is hiding himself from the police, and Tom tells him that Dickie is “not very cooperative,” but couldn’t possibly have murdered Freddie Miles. The tenente asks about Marge, and Tom implies that both Dickie and Freddie were in love with her. After a couple more inconclusive questions about Dickie’s forged signatures on his checks, the tenente thanks Tom for his cooperation and leaves.
Tom seems almost gossipy with the tenente, painting subjective portraits of Dickie, Marge, and Freddie, and presenting himself as an innocent and bewildered bystander to their dramas. Tom is a master of appearances, and this is one of his most finely-tuned, thoroughly-planned deceptions yet.
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Tom makes a reservation for himself at a fine restaurant. “Suddenly ravenous,” he looks forward to eating something “luscious and expensive.” As he dresses for dinner, he’s struck by a “bright idea: he ought to have an envelope in his possession, on which should be written that it is not to be opened for several months. Inside it should be a will signed by Dickie, bequeathing Tom his money and his income.”
Tom’s confidence in having conned the Roman policeman into believing his grand lie inspires him to once again engage in excess and risk. He dines luxuriously, showcasing his obsessive greed, and considers a scheme grander than any he’s attempted yet, believing fully and confidently that he will be able to pull it off.
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