author bio

15 years of TBR


Patricia Highsmith

As a person, by most all accounts, she was something of a bitch.  We’re partly attracted to that bad-girl side of her character, but there were some ugly parts too which we’d just as soon forget. An excellent biography by Joan Schenkar, The Talented Miss Highsmith, captures it all. As a writer, she broke new ground by giving us Tom Ripley, the first criminal to commit a crime and to look good doing so.  Author of 22 novels in all and numerous short stories, Highsmith’s high reputation for psychological thrillers lives on well into the 21sts century.  


Have a go, and you’re in the running to receive a 30-euro (£25 / $40) gift certificate to spend at Amazon; in case of a tie, a name will be drawn. Deadline: July 08, 2012

THE DEADLINE HAS BEEN REACHED. If you want to see the answers click HERE


Name the Ripley novel where:

.1 . .  we first see him living in France, in the lovely mansion Belle Ombre, with his beautiful wife Heloise.

2 . . he befriends an American neighbor whom he lures into killing a Mafia thug.

3 . . he is forced to kill Freddy.

4 . . he doesn’t kill anyone.

5 . .  he arranges a rendezvous at a gay bar, which he infiltrates by dressing in drag

6. Which actor did NOT portray Tom Ripley (even if he went by a different name as is the case of one):

       a. John Malkovitch
       b. Dennis Hopper
       c. Barry Pepper
       d. Matt Damon
       e. Ewan McGregor
       f. Alain Delon

7. The original title of Highsmith’s lesbian novel was . . .
       a. Carol
       b. Murmur of the Heart
       c. The Price of Salt

8. In this short story, the protagonist stabs his mother to death . . .
       a. “The Terrapin”
       b. “Quiet Night”
       c. “Mrs. Afton, Among Thy Green Braes”
A young Highsmith       d. “Perfect Alibi”

9. Set in Tunisia, the American protogonist in this novel may or may not have killed someone with his . . .

       a. terracotta cactus pot
       b. easel
       c. typewriter
       d. cast iron skillet

10. When this woman’s husband leaves her for a younger woman, leaving her with their alcoholic son and his senile uncle, she begins a diary in which she . . .

       a. plots the murders of everyone she knows
       b. creates an ideal life for herself
       c. invents different forms of torture for her husband and his uncle
       d. writes haunting children’s stories

11. The person who believed in Highsmith’s talent and made it possible for her to go to Yaddo was . . .

       a. Raymond Chandler
       b. Flannery O’Connor
       c. Harper Lee
       d. Truman Capote

12. Sociopath Charles Anthony Bruno dies by . . .

       a. a gunshot from a policeman
       b. a car accident
       c. drowning
       d. an out-of-control merry-go-round

13. Pedro Almodovar tried hard to buy the film rights to which of Highsmith’s novels?

14. The personal possession of Dickie Greenleaf’s that Tom Ripley keeps is . . .

       a. a set of cufflinks
       b. a ring
       c. a gold cigarette case
       d. a gold money holder

15. The book which Guy Haines leaves on the train . . .

       a. Plato’s Republic
       b. Kafka’s Metamorphasis
       c. Camus’ The Stranger
       d. The Illiad

16. Although she kept it a secret at the time, for many years Highsmith worked as . . .
       a. a salesgirl in Macy’s
       b. an advice columnist
       c. a comic book writer
       d. a writer of romance stories for women’s magazines

17. After a painful divorce, this man becomes obsessed by a young girl and spys on her through her kitchen window. She notices and reacts by . . .

       a. inviting him in
       b. dressing and wearing her hair like his ex-wife
       c. making out with her finance in the window
d. applying for a job at his company

18. Walter Stackhouse is accused of . . .

       a. embezzling money from his law firm
b. murdering his wife
c. art forgery
d. impersonating a wealthy tycoon

19. Upon her death, Patricia Highsmith left the bulk of her fortune to . . .

           a. her Swiss agent
    b. an old lover
    c. Yaddo Artist Colony
           d. the British Arts Council

    20. Highsmith was known to sometimes . . .

           a. take the tips left on restaurant tables
    carry snails, which she put on tables at dinner parties
    c. rail against Jews
    d. all of the above

Any comments?