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Tom Ripley and Philippe Greenleaf are two young, pleasure-seeking Americans vacationing in Italy. Tom has been promised $5,000 by Philippe's father if he can persuade Philippe to return to America, but Tom soon realizes that he will never collect his fee. Envious of Philippe's boat, his expensive clothes, and his desirable mistress, Marge, Tom plots to take Philippe's place. While alone with Philippe on the boat, Tom stabs his friend with a fishknife, wraps his body in a tarpaulin, and drops it over the side. Back in port, he assumes Philippe's identity, forging checks and passports, and living Philippe's kind of life. Tom explains to Marge that Philippe no longer loves her and does not wish to see her again. Then, suddenly, the impersonation is discovered by an old friend of Philippe's and Tom is once more forced to kill. Realizing that "Philippe" will be the chief suspect, Tom fakes Philippe's suicide and signs Philippe's name to a note bequeathing his fortune to Marge. He then resumes his own identity as Tom Ripley and begins wooing Marge. All goes as planned: the now-wealthy Marge falls in love with him, Philippe's death is accepted by both his father and the police, and Tom has within his grasp all the things he envied. His doom is sealed, however, when Marge decides to sell Philippe's boat. As it is hauled out of the water into dry-dock, the corpse is found hanging from the propeller.