The Talented Mr. Ripley


Patricia Highsmith

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The Talented Mr. Ripley: Chapter 25 Summary & Analysis

Early the next morning, a telegram arrives for Tom—it is from Herbert, saying that he has changed his mind and will be arriving in Venice just before noon. Tom and Marge have a coffee and read the papers. It is a rare morning; nothing about Dickie or Freddie’s murder is in the papers at all. Marge and Tom go to the station to meet Herbert. Marge asks if there is any news, and Herbert says there is none. The three of them go to lunch. Herbert is forlorn and “stony,” and he glances around the restaurant “as if hoping for Dickie to come walking in.” Herbert tells Tom and Marge that he has arranged for an American private eye named McCarron to come over to Italy to assist in the search.
Just as it seems that the onslaught of curiosity about Dickie and Freddie’s disappearance and murder will never end, it ceases for a brief moment—only to resurge with Herbert’s announcement that an American detective will soon be on the case. Herbert’s forlorn desperation, as it always has been, is nothing more than lightly amusing to Tom.
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Back at Tom’s house, Tom urges Marge to head upstairs so that he and Herbert can speak alone—he knows Herbert will want to “quiz” him. Herbert asks Tom if he thinks that perhaps Dickie is hiding out at an obscure hotel or somewhere in the countryside—Tom states that it might be possible, but that Dickie also might have killed himself. He tells Herbert that, the last time he saw Dickie, he’d been morose and “shaken” by “the Miles thing.” Herbert insists that Dickie has not committed suicide, and Tom indulges him, telling Herbert that perhaps Dickie could be in Greece or France or “several other countries.” Herbert, exhausted, agrees.
Herbert seems unwilling—or unable—to believe that his son has killed himself, though he waffles back and forth as he is so baffled by the entire situation, and rightfully so: Tom has engineered a complicated, farcical ballet of disappearances and reappearances, feuds and follies and loose ends.
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