(Aside: When did 1995 get to be 15 years ago?)
Highsmith had quite a career. She came strong out of the gate with Strangers on a Train (1950), the hey-pal-let’s-swap-murders novel that was made into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock the very next year. (Hitchcock got screenplay help from mystery titan Raymond Chandler. Highsmith was in fast company right away.)
Over the next 45 years Highsmith wrote a variety of short stories and novels, with titles like Deep Water (1957), The Sweet Sickness (1960), and The Animal-Lover’s Book of Beastly Murder (1975). She also wrote a useful how-to, Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction, in 1966.
But her most famous creation is Tom Ripley, the amoral and highly successful young man who gets away with murder(s). He first appeared in The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955) and Highsmith wrote about him in four more novels. The last, Ripley Under Water, appeared in 1981.
Happy deathday, Ms. Highsmith, wherever you are!