A Fondness for Truth by Kim Hays Review

An immersive police procedural that pulls you into a murder investigation and puts your own crime-solving abilities to the test. Read the full review.

A Fondness for Truth: A Linder and Donatelli Mystery is the third book in the Polizei Bern series.

A Fondness for Truth Publisher's Synopsis

Honesty isn’t always the best policy in Kim Hays’ third Linder and Donatelli Mystery novel . . .

Andi Eberhart is riding her bicycle home on an icy winter night when she is killed in a hit-and-run. Her devastated partner, Nisha, is convinced the death was no accident. Andi had been receiving homophobic hate mail for several years, and the letters grew uglier after the couple’s baby was born.

Bern homicide Detective Giuliana Linder is assigned to investigate what happened to Andi. As she pieces together the details of Andi and Nisha’s lives, her assistant Renzo Donatelli looks into Andi’s job advising young men drafted into Switzerland’s civilian service. Working closely together, Giuliana and Renzo are again tempted to become more than just friendly colleagues.

As both detectives dig into Andi’s life, one thing becomes clear: Andi’s friends and family may have loved her for her honesty, but her outspokenness threatened others—perhaps enough to get rid of her.

Seventh Street Books (2024)

Genre(s) Police Procedural, Mystery & Detective

Kim Hays | Pub Date 16 April 2024 | ISBN 9781645060833 | 359 pages

A Fondness for Truth Review

Set in Bern. Switzerland, the novel opens with thirty-three-year-old Andrea “Andi” Eberhart riding her bicycle home from curling practice on a frigid night in March. A red car following her suddenly speeds up and smashes into her, sending Eberhart flying into a tree. The impact snaps her neck and kills her. When the evidence suggests it isn’t a simple hit-and-run but premeditated murder, the police launch an investigation. The death of Eberhart devastates her Sri Lankan partner, Nisha, who also immediately suspects foul play because of a series of anonymous homophobic letters someone has sent to their home over a period of the past four years.

Bern homicide detective Giuliana Linder, who is busy preparing for the trial of a man who killed his two young daughters and her colleague Renzo Donatelli, gets pulled into the Eberhart investigation when the hit-and-run gets reclassified as a homicide. Soon there is no shortage of suspects and Linder and Donatelli undertake the painstaking task of eliminating them one by one in their search for the killer.

Having read and enjoyed the previous two books in the series, finding A Fondness for Truth absorbing and entertaining didn’t surprise me. First, Hays excels not only in writing an unerringly accurate police procedural but also displays her experience and expertise in crafting characters who seem so real you can’t avoid becoming emotively involved with them. I was just as engaged in Linder and Donatelli’s personal lives as I was with the case, which I really didn’t mind.

Failure to strike a proper balance between the professional and personal is often a weakness in crime fiction that makes for dull or stereotypical characters. Hays avoids this brilliantly, and I truly enjoyed the personal insight into the lives of the detectives as they interacted with their partners and children. In fact, this insight is central to the story of this novel. Also, Linder having to switch her attention back and forth between the current investigation and the trial preparation for a previous one added breadth and interest to the story.

One other thing that sets Hays’ writing apart for me is how she weaves current affairs, cultural issues, and contemporary social issues into her novels. This gives her books the immersive feel as you never feel you’re just reading about a place you aren’t terribly familiar with but almost as if you are visiting the place and experiencing it. Also, besides the entertainment value, I always learn something when reading a Kim Hays novel. As an example for this book, I learned a good deal about Sri Lankan culture I didn’t know previously.

I really enjoyed A Fondness for Truth because of all the reasons mentioned. The procedural stuff was spot on, and I really loved the personality and humanity Hays brought to the characters. I really came to know Linder and Donatelli better and look forward to meeting them again. I love novels that touch me on the emotional level and this one did just that.

Fans of international crime, and the police procedural genre, will enjoy this novel. While you shouldn’t miss the first two books in the series, A Fondness for Truth works just as well as a standalone and you needn’t have read the previous books before reading this one.

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher for consideration of a review. This review represents my honest opinions.

Book rating: ★★★★★

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