Sons and Brothers

A Polizei Bern Novel

Kim Hays
  • 362 pp
  • ISBN 9781645060581
  • Paperback • $17.95
  • April 2023

Kim Hays' second novel serves us a suspicious drowning, ugly secrets, and unresolved romantic tension . . .

Walking his dog along Bern’s Aare river on an icy November night, a surgeon in his seventies is hit in the face and thrown into the river to drown. When his bruised corpse is found, his watch is missing. A mugging gone wrong? The more Swiss police detective Giuliana Linder and her assistant Renzo Donatelli learn about Johann Karl Gurtner, the more convinced they are that his death was not random.

Talking to Gurtner’s family raises as many questions as it answers, but one thing becomes clear: the surgeon’s relationship with his middle son, Markus, was grim. Tracking others who might have had reason to hate Gurtner, Giuliana and Renzo find themselves once again dealing with their attraction to one another and their ambivalence about having an affair.

Behind their investigation, another story has been unfolding. During the year leading up to Gurtner’s death, his son Markus became friends with a former classmate of his father’s from the village where the two men grew up. Unlike the privileged young Gurtner, Jakob Amsler was forcibly removed from his mother at nine and contracted to live and work on a village farm. From Jakob, Markus learns that his father’s early life contains some very odd secrets—secrets that Giuliana and Renzo are now trying to uncover.

“Hays makes sure that the historical aspects of the story are as compelling as the murder mystery at its heart. . . A smart Swiss procedural that keeps its mystery ticking”

—Kirkus Reviews

“Kim Hays balances winter-keen psychological insight with the warmth and beauty of the most charming canton of Switzerland, methodically revealing the small tragedies of class and family, uneasy marriages and toxic workplaces. Guliana Linder and Renzo Donatelli are compassionate, conflicted, and utterly compelling. A must-read.”

—Julia Spencer-Fleming, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author

“The second outing of Linder and Donatelli is as crisp and skilled as the first, with our police duo digging beneath the beauty of Bern to the shadows beneath. Old scandals and new conflicts are investigated by realistic, complicated people, whom the reader fears might not always make the right choices. Brisk plot, depth of character, great setting—what’s not to love?”

—Laurie R. King, Edgar Award winning author of thirty novels, including the Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes series

“Kim Hays’ Sons and Brothers features an intriguing murder case well worth sinking your teeth into, and is, I suspect, one of the more authentic depictions of real-world Swiss policing available. Recommended for fans of both detective mysteries and police procedurals.”

—Larry of Crime Fiction Critic

Kim Hays is a dual citizen of Switzerland and the US who lives in Bern with her Swiss husband. Before her marriage, she lived in San Juan, Vancouver, and Stockholm, as well as the States. Since her teens, Hays has worked in a variety of jobs, from forewoman in a truck-engine factory to lecturer in sociology to cross-cultural trainer for multinational firms. She found a publisher for Pesticide after it was shortlisted for the 2020 Debut Dagger award by the Crime Writers’ Association. Hays has a BA from Harvard and a PhD from the University of California-Berkeley.

Buy this Book: