He stared at 'Man in chair' over the fireplace, and bounced on his heels with satisfaction - satisfaction with it s familiarity, its excellence. Bernard was good. He'd just made a couple of mistakes in his periods. Damn periods anyway. Logically, 'The Red Chairs,' a genuine Derwatt should have the place of honour in the room over the fireplace. Typical of him that he had put the phoney in the choice spot he supposed.
'I cannot understand your total disconnection with the truth of things,' Murchison said. 'An artist's style is his truth, his honest. Has another man the right to copy it, in the same way that a man copies another man's signature? And for the same purpose, to draw on his reputation, his bank account? A reputation already built by a man's talent?'It is as if Highsmith feels she must explain the book. Really she explains away the whole theme with that second paragraph, rendering the novel that follows a bland if somewhat sick amusement, even with all its bloody crimes and near misses. The same class of crime is being committed as in The Talented Mr. Ripley. The same themes of identity are being explored, but without the point. Ripley Under Ground toys with identity games because it worked in the first book, but it is just a house of mirrors.