The best books about secrets, lies, deception and double lives

The Books I Picked & Why

The Talented Mr. Ripley

By Patricia Highsmith

Book cover of The Talented Mr. Ripley

Why this book?

You can’t talk about deception and double lives without talking about the charming con artist and serial killer, Tom Ripley. It’s the first of six novels Highsmith wrote with Ripley as the protagonist. Read the book and watch the brilliant Anthony Minghella’s eponymous film starring Matt Damon as Ripley. (There’s also a great French version, Purple Noon, from 1960, with Alain Delon). 


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A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

By Ben Macintyre

Book cover of A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

Why this book?

I’ve been obsessed with Kim Philby for years. Philby was an intelligence officer with MI6 - and also a double agent with the KGB, passing highly classified information to the Russians. How did he do it? Why did he do it? And how did he get away with it for decades? Macintyre's biography explains it all.


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Spy the Lie: Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Detect Deception

By Philip Houston, Michael Floyd, Susan Carnicero

Book cover of Spy the Lie: Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Detect Deception

Why this book?

Is it possible to detect deception? Can you really tell if someone’s lying just by looking at their body language? If so, what are the cues? When I was writing Duped, I decided to take a class with the authors, who were former CIA agents. I learned a ton. 


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You Should Have Known

By Jean Hanff Korelitz

Book cover of You Should Have Known

Why this book?

I read this novel when it came out in 2014, before I even got my own book deal. I was fascinated by the premise: A marriage counselor who had no idea that her own marriage was a sham, and her husband a psychopath. It hit home for sure. I prefer the book to The Undoing, the recent film on which it was based.


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Lindbergh

By A. Scott Berg

Book cover of Lindbergh

Why this book?

This is another biography and I liked it so much because it shed light on the inner life of an American hero: Aviator Charles Lindbergh. I talk about him in Duped - Lindbergh had three families in Germany, a wife in the states, and a gaggle of offspring scattered on the two continents. That’s probably why he took up flying. 


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