In Patricia Highsmith's classic crime novel, The Talented Mr. Ripley, the main character temporarily assumes the identity of a man whom he has murdered in Italy At the end of the novel, Ripley, who has returned to his original identity, goes to get his mail and fears that his plot has been uncovered.

“Would you stop at the American Express, please?” he asked the driver in Italian, but the driver apparently understood “American Express” at least, and drove off. Tom remembered when he had said the same words to the taxi driver in Rome, the day he had been on his way to Palermo. How sure of himself he'd been that day, just after he had given Marge the slip at the Inghilterra!

He sat up when he saw the American Express sign, and looked around the building for policemen. Perhaps the police were inside. In Italian, he asked the driver to wait, and the driver seemed to understand this too, and touched his cap. There was a specious ease about everything, like the moment just before something was going to explode. Tom looked around inside the American Express lobby. Nothing unusual. Maybe the minute he mentioned his name—

“Have you any letters for Thomas Ripley?” he asked in a low voice in English.

“Reepley? Spell it, if you please.”

He spelt it.

She turned and got some letters from a cubbyhole.

Nothing was happening.

“Three letters,” she said in English, smiling. (403)

In just this brief section, Highsmith presents the discourse in an extremely complex manner. The author draws upon conventions so familiar to readers of modern fiction that the fact that Ripley's words and thoughts are presented in such an elaborate manner is most probably not immediately obvious. First, Ripley speaks to the driver but there are no direct quotations. Then we have what appears to be Ripley's thoughts: “Nothing unusual. Maybe the minute he mentioned his name,” and then we have the words exchanged between Tom and the woman at the American Express office.