Tom Ripley is quietly living a life of luxury at his chateau at Villeperce, and, as ever, is keeping one step ahead of the law - he has, after all, a past that would not bear too much close scrutiny... The fifth novel featuring the protagonist Tom Ripley finds the sophisticated and amoral American expatriate being harassed by David Pritchard, a fellow American whose boorishness marks him as something of Ripley's alter-ego. Inexplicably familiar with all the incriminating details of Ripley's past, Pritchard is determined to expose him. He shadows Ripley's every move, first spying on him at home in France and then following him to Morocco. Tensions build on the return to Villeperce as Pritchard sets out to locate a body Ripley would prefer remain hidden in a nearby river.