Skip to Main Content


Published by Seventh Street Books
Distributed by Simon & Schuster
See More Retailers

Bern, the medieval capital of Switzerland. Known for its neat cobblestoned streets, charming thirteenth-century clocktower—and vandalism, riots and murders?

A street party in Bern morphs into a fierce riot one hot summer night when many hours and canisters of teargas later, a young man is found beaten to death with a policeman’s club. That same Sunday, twenty miles away, an elderly organic farmer turns up on his land in the village of Haldiz, dead and drenched with pesticide.

Bernese police detective Giuliana Linder and Renzo Donatelli, her younger colleague, are thrown together by the merging of the two murder cases. Despite her boss's new allegations, Giuliana isn’t convinced, especially when Renzo uncovers some new pertinent information. Is anything really as it seems, or will some new evidence expose an elaborate scam in Haldiz?

As she pursues the two deaths, Giuliana’s home life is worrying her as much as the investigation. She and her husband, a freelance journalist, are at odds over the Bernese cops’ behavior during the riots, which led to the arrest of their teenage daughter. As Giuliana feels her husband pull away, she grows closer to Renzo, and when he confesses his attraction to her, she is tempted to start an affair. But is it worth the risk to her career and both their marriages?

The problem is, she can’t stop caring for Renzo. Which means that when his life is in danger, it’s Giuliana who goes looking for him.

Giuliana Linder and Renzo Donatelli make for one of the sharpest, most compelling police duos you’ll ever read. Their conflicted attraction bristles with true emotional depth and poignancy as they lead a rich ensemble cast through the surprisingly nefarious world of organic politics. A remarkable procedural set in Bern, Kim Hays’s Pesticide is Switzerland’s answer to Scandinavian noir. Fresh and oh so readable, you won’t want to put it down.

– James W. Ziskin, author of the award-winning Ellie Stone mysteries

A convincing and compelling page-turner in a unique and authentic setting. Pesticide is a cleverly-plotted mystery that manages to be well-researched, intriguing, and entertaining. Kim Hays writes complex characters and suspense equally well, and her investigating duo, Giuliana and Renzo, are sure to win the hearts of readers everywhere.

– Clare O’Dea, author of Voting Day

Kim Hays delivers a superbly written mystery set in Switzerland. Two murders, one in the old town of Bern, the other on a nearby organic farm, test the wits of veteran police detective Giuliana Linder and her handsome junior colleague, Renzo Donatelli. The setting is fresh, the characters richly developed, and the plot as intricate as the inside of a Swiss watch. Enjoy!

– Betsy Draine and Michael Hinden, co-authors of the Nora Barnes and Toby Sandler mysteries