Known primarily for her debut novel, <i>Strangers on a Train</i>, and her most famous literary creation, Tom Ripley, author Patricia Highsmith crafted literate psychological character studies couched within the framework of a traditional crime thriller. After graduating from college, Highsmith fell into a freelance career as a writer for comic books and periodically published short stories in periodicals such as <i> Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine</i>. Alfred Hitchcock's "Strangers on a Train" (1951), an adaptation of her first novel, became an instant classic and served to establish Highsmith as an author of intricately plotted thrillers. A difficult and solitary person, she eventually expatriated to Europe, where her works enjoyed greater success and critical appreciation than they did in the U.S. With her fourth novel, <i>The Talented Mr. Ripley</i>, Highsmith gave birth to her first and only recurring character, the anti-hero without a conscience and a taste for the finer things in life, Tom Ripley. The ongoing Ripley saga would be adapted to film dozens of times, most notably in Anthony Minghella's "The Talented Mr. Ripley" (1999). With a body of work encompassing 22 novels and eight short story collections which drew literary comparisons to Albert Camus and Joseph Conrad, Highsmith was one of the more respected, yet under-recognized writers of 20th century American fiction.