The Most Difficult Thing

By Charlotte Philby


‘I devoured this’ Erin Kelly
‘Compulsive’ i Paper
‘Enigmatic’ Louise Candlish
‘A page-turning thriller’ BBC Radio 4 Open Book
‘Chilling’ Good Housekeeping
‘Addictive’ Joanna Cannon
‘Compelling’ Daily Telegraph

On the surface, Anna Witherall personifies everything the aspirational magazine she works for represents. Married to her university boyfriend David, she has a beautiful home and gorgeous three-year-old twin daughters, Stella and Rose. But beneath the veneer of success and happiness, Anna is hiding a dark secret, one that threatens to unravel everything she has worked so hard to create.

As Anna finds herself drawn into the dark and highly controlled world of secret intelligence, she is forced to question her family’s safety, and her own. Only one thing is certain: in order to protect her children, she must leave them, forever. 

And someone is watching. Someone she thought she could trust. Someone who is determined to make them all pay.

Stylish and assured, The Most Difficult Thing is an irresistible combination of contemporary espionage and domestic suspense, and a compulsive, highly charged examination of betrayal.

Format: Hardback
Release Date: 11 Jul 2019
Pages: 432
ISBN: 978-0-00-832698-2
CHARLOTTE PHILBY worked for the Independent for eight years as a columnist, editor and reporter, and was shortlisted for the Cudlipp Prize for her investigative journalism at the 2013 Press Awards. A former contributing editor and feature writer at Marie Claire, she has written for the New Statesman, Elle, The Telegraph, Guardian and Sunday Times, and presented documentaries for the BBC World Service and The One Show. Charlotte is the granddaughter of Kim Philby, Britain’s most infamous communist double-agent, the elusive ‘third man’ in the notorious Cambridge spy ring. This is her third novel.

”'[An] intriguing exploration of deceit and duplicity” - Guardian

”'I devoured this beautifully written, intricately wrought and unique blend of spy thriller and domestic suspense: The Most Difficult Thing is The Night Manager set in a woman’s world. The twists keep coming, right down to that chilling last line” - Erin Kelly

”'A compelling and emotionally resonant mixture of spy thriller and domestic suspense” - Daily Telegraph

”'Charlotte Philby’s debut The Most Difficult Thing is an enigmatic and slippery beast, a cool new generation of spy novel. Just as the characters play cat and mouse with one another, so does the author with her readers - it’s a guessing game right to the end and I turned the last page with my heart pounding. Recommended” - Louise Candlish

”'A genre-busting spy novel that amps up the tension and will leave you trusting no one” - Red

”'Dark and addictive and magnificent” - Joanna Cannon, author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep and Three Things About Elsie

”'A writer of promise” - Financial Times

”'An espionage/domestic noir crossover in which betrayal is as inevitable as it is compulsive” - i Paper

”'Compulsive and chilling” - Good Housekeeping

”'A page-turning thriller” - BBC Radio 4 Open Book

”'Like The Night Manager rewritten by Patricia Highsmith, this is a distinctively female take on spying” - Mail on Sunday EVENT Magazine

”'Compelling and complex - a compulsive read” - Harriet Tyce, author of Blood Orange

”'Spying has been her inheritance and this brilliant, beautifully crafted debut novel uses it to the full - and so much more besides” - Jon Snow, Channel 4 News

”'Philby clearly understands something about deceit and betrayal, making this a page-turner with several cliffhanger moments, including the ending” - Daily Express