Shortlisted for the 2020 Crime Writers’ Association’s Debut Dagger Award
A Linder and Donatelli Mystery
Bern, the medieval capital of Switzerland. Known for its neat cobblestoned streets, its charming thirteenth-century clocktower—and vandalism, riots and murders?
This first mystery in the Linder and Donatelli series begins on a hot summer night when a street party in Bern morphs into a fierce riot. 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. It isn’t long before a connection between the two corpses is uncovered: a shared field of illegal marijuana.
Bernese police detective Giuliana Linder and Renzo Donatelli, her younger colleague, are thrown together by the merging of the two murder cases. When it turns out that the younger victim not only dealt marijuana at a downtown youth center but was caught on CCTV visiting a heroin trafficker, Giuliana’s boss is eager to call the killings drug-related. But Giuliana isn’t convinced. And Renzo begins to uncover secrets among the farmers in Haldiz.
As she pursues the two deaths, Giuliana’s home life is worrying her almost 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.
Pesticide will be published by Seventh Street Books in April 2022.