Patricia Highsmith, the ultimate purveyor of what Graham Greene called “cruel pleasures”, was born 100 years ago this month. The dark celebrations for this most misanthropic of modern novelists are about to begin with the publication of Under a Dark Angel’s Eye, a new collection of her short stories.
And that’s not all. This month there’s a new biography of the writer by Richard Bradford. Highsmith’s eye-opening diaries and notebooks — which I drew on for Beautiful Shadow, the first biography of the author — will be published in the summer. This year we should see the release of the first series of Showtime’s big-budget television adaptation of the Ripley novels, starring Andrew Scott as the charming psychopath and Johnny Flynn as Dickie Greenleaf. Then in August Highsmith’s 1957 novel Deep Water will get the big-screen treatment with Adrian Lyne directing Ben Affleck as the murderous, snail-obsessed Vic Van Allen, and Ana de Armas as his wife, Melinda.