The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Definitely old-school from the pacing to the plot. We have Tom Ripley, amateur con man, who is sought out by Herbert Greenleaf, father of Dickie. Dickie has escaped the family and gone to Italy and his father (and mother) want him back home, would Tom go over and convince him to return? Tom takes on the job and turns into a SWF (ok, SWM)-stalker, imitating Dickie's walk, talk and life. And then it's not about imitating, it's actually inhabiting Dickie's life, avoiding friends and living off Dickie's money until Freddie Miles comes and Tom's life as Dickie starts to unravel.
Except it doesn't completely, as Tom miraculously manages to evade detection as a double murderer. As I read I kept thinking how much a period-piece this was: fingerprinting is primitive, ditto police methods. Could someone take on another's entire personality and life in this day and age? That didn't lessen my enjoyment of the book, but it did occasionally run through my mind.