Katie's Reviews > The Hangman's Daughter

The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch
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Feb 07, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: fiction, fluff, historically-based, mystery

This was really not as good as I thought it was going to be. For one thing, the hangman's daughter, Magdalena, was hardly in the book--and certainly didn't deserve the title role. It seemed like the author tried to make her a 'progressive' woman, but fell pretty far short, leaving her simpering, and useless for much besides soldier bait. For another, the plot read like it was written for a comic book. The hero--the hangman--always shows up in the nick of time with his proverbial cape a-swirling. He's stoic, taciturn, wooden (though that could have been the translator's fault)...and not very likeable. As for the mystery part? The author's hints were pretty heavy-handed, and I had it figured out well before main characters did.
The saving grace of this book was definitely the historical background. The culture and tradition surrounding the hangman's life (how awful would it be to be stuck with the family's occupation you were born into--especially when you're stuck being the town garbage/refuse/sewer man AND the local torturer?!) was pretty darn interesting. It was also cool that this book was born of the author's interest in his own geneaology. Maybe read it for this reason. Definitley don't read it for amazing writing.
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