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The Play of Death

(Die Henkerstochter - The Hangman's Daughter Series #6)

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  3,742 ratings  ·  288 reviews
The mysterious sixth entry in the Hangman’s Daughter series

It is 1670 and Simon Fronwieser is in the town of Oberammergau to bring his seven-year-old son to boarding school. As he bids his boy a tearful farewell, news comes of a shocking murder: the man who was to play the part of Christ in the town’s Passion Play has been found dead, nailed to the set’s cross. As there i
Paperback, 512 pages
Published May 9th 2017 by Mariner Books (first published January 15th 2016)
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Average rating 4.30  · 
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 ·  3,742 ratings  ·  288 reviews

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May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is the sixth and penultimate book in the Hangman’s Daughter series, and I’m slowly running out of things to say.

Perhaps this was not quite as good as the last one, although it surely has got a lot to offer. Set in Schonau, home to the Kuisl family, but mostly in the village of Oberammergau and the surrounding mountain region, best known nowadays for its Passion Play: In 1633 the dwellers of the village vowed they would produce a play every 10 years depicting the life and death of Jesus Chri
Mary  (Biblophile)
Although a little overly long, I enjoyed this well-written historical mystery. Jacob's drinking lands him in trouble and gives the council a reason to possibly oust him as hangman, Barbara is bringing shame on her dishonorable family, and Magdalena has a secret. I liked that the characters continue to develop and that we learn a lot about the social and political climate of the times. One of my favorite series. ...more
I’m not entirely sure how to respond to this book. On the one hand I did find the setting and mystery compelling, and the ending was unpredictable and made a certain degree of sense. I also liked seeing somebody actually take advantage of Kuisl’s obviously uncommon sleuthing skills. Like, if you’re an ambitious man with a brain and your local hangman keeps defying you in order to use his unique skills to solve unsolvable crimes isn’t it more profitable to find ways to take advantage of this gift ...more
May 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Potzsch always writes a great book, but his insistence on drawing parallels between Oberammergauers hating outsiders and the Islam problem in Europe today is unforgivable.

In his notes, he mentions the "right wing hate groups" he modeled that part of the story after. Sorry Potzsch, but one doesn't have to be right wing, or hate people to realize that Europe is chock full of more rapes, violence, and terrorist attacks thanks to unfettered islamic immigration. Islam is to be feared. And its not rac
why have I read these books up til now? beats me as I actually bought a number of them and usually did not enjoy the reading experience. Note to Self: Stop
Jan 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-netgalley
I received this from in exchange for a review.

This is the 6th book in the Hangman series. This one felt even more drawn out and could have been at least 100 pgs shorter.

Ashley Marsh
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, 2018
It’s not my favorite, but I enjoyed it well enough. I think it’s probably time for this series to wrap up.
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Thank you Netgalley for an early reader copy in exchange for an unbiased review)

I loved "The Play of Death", Oliver Potzsch's latest in book in The Hangman's Daughter series. With the usual cast of characters (Magdalena, the hangman's daughter; Jakob Kuisl, the hangman of Schongau; Simon, Magdalena's wife; and assorted neighbors, politicians and so on), the story moves from Schongau to nearby Oberammergau, home of the famous Passion Play. Simon is taking his son Peter to Oberammergau to attend
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: oliver-potzsch
I have read all six of these novels and I’ve grown to care for the Kuisl family, from Jacob the hangman to Magdalena and Simon, his daughter and son-in-law to the twins, Peter and Paul, Jacob’s grandsons. Their adventures are very in-depth with all myriad twists and turns. Plus you get a rich history of Bavaria and all their customs and superstitions along the way. Thoroughly enjoyable. Thank you Oliver Potzsch!
Crime in the mid 1600's Germany doesn't pay. It usually ends up with a date with the hangman. Yet, there's never a shortage of fodder for the hangman's craft. This installment kept all members of the family in danger. I anxiously turned the pages (figuratively since this was an ebook) hoping that justice would prevail. ...more
Pamela Mclaren
This is the most unusual book series: the main characters are a hangman, Jakob Kuisl, and his family, all considered unclean in the suspicious 1600s but a vital part of their community because they are also healers. And because of that, they are sometimes called upon to solve mysteries that can't be explained by witchcraft and the devil.

In this outing, Kuisl's son-in-law, Simon Fronwieser travels to the community of Oberammergau to leaves son at boarding school ... and comes across a murder. Soo
Diane Klajbor
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another splendid book in the Hangman's Daughter series. The writing is consistently good throughout the books. I enjoy seeing how the characters develop over the span of years, from the first book through the sixth. I'm looking forward to the 7th book that will be out in May. ...more
Susan Crowe
Awesome, as usual! i love this series so much!
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A timely story of xenophobia and mob rule

Another excellent volume in this series. This story highlights the current battle over refugees and immigrants and tries to impart the lessons of history to help us see we are all the same. Oh - and there is of course a great mystery or two.
Jill Meyer
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The good historical novel can teach as well as entertain the reader. Certainly, German author Oliver Potzsch does both in "The Play of Death", his sixth book in his "The Hangman's Daughter" series.The play referred to is the every-ten-year production of the Passion Play in the small city of Oberammergau, in the Bavarian region south of Munich. The novel is set in 1670, not long after the first Passion Play in Oberammergau. (Evidently, there are Passion Plays in many cities, but the one in Oberam ...more
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Whole Family

The first thing I always like about The Hangman's Daughter series is the verisimilitude. I couldn't tell you a thing about 1600's era Germany, but Oliver Potzsch sure makes me think HE could.

In book 6 of the series, the entire Kuisl/Fronheiser family gets in on the act. Simon Fronheiser, the Schongau medicus and bathhouse keeper, has decided to bring his son Peter, the most scholarly of his children, to Oberammergau, site of the famed Passion Play, so that Peter might gain an ed
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I originally found this series through subscription to Kindle Unlimited, and through it read the earlier books completely free. However, I lost access to them after cancelling the subscription. Recently I found this installment as part of a kindle deal. So I bought it, read it, and enjoyed it.
In contrast to some stories, I like the historical context to these (typically explained by the author at the end of the book) as it does not overpower the narrative itself. Indeed I read this particular i
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Modern views of the German village of Oberammergau and its famous Passion Play may be shaken by the darker portrait of the place and the drama in this sixth entry in the Hangman's Daughter series.
Simon Fronwieser, Magdalena's husband, escorts their precocious seven-year-old son to Oberammergau where he is to receive schooling under Simon's old mentor and friend. They arrive in the village just in time for the barbarous murder of the star of the Passion Play, which has been moved up from its norm
Lara Giesbers
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every time a new Hangman's Daughter book comes out, I am never disappointed. I always wonder what else in Bavaria could Jakob Kiesl get himself into! This particular story takes Simon and Jakob on a mystery adventure while Simon is taking his son to another village to be educated by an old schoolmaster and friend. The story takes all kinds of twists and turns, and shows us why Bavaria is a place of legend.

This series has been an absolute favorite of mine since I discovered it. It is a great blen
Joyce Reppenhaagen

I was disappointed in this book, politics had no place in it, I wonder how you feel now with all the Terrorist attacks going on. Right wing extremism? I am done with your books, not what I want to read.
May 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book doesn't disappoint the reader. The author is in my top three favorite. I hope the series continues with a book 7. ...more
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical mystery fans
Recommended to Skjam! by: Goodreads
Disclaimer: I received a Kindle download of this book through a Goodreads giveaway to facilitate this review. No other compensation was offered or requested.

The year is 1670, and the people of Oberammergau are preparing their every-ten-years Passion Play…though some of them think it might be sacrilegious to be doing so four years early. When the actor playing Jesus Christ is found actually crucified on the prop cross, the villagers suspect the Devil is afoot. The deaths of other actors in the ma
I've been falling out of love with Oliver Potzsch's "Hangman's Daughter" series a bit as our heroes grow more established. The mysteries haven't been quite as intriguing, and Potzsch has far too many annoying writer's tics for me to ignore - his characters do far too much 'winking' when making a point, verbs are underlined with superfluous adverbs (I've lost count of how many 'sly grins' are used), and our fearless heroes are far too good at sneaking up on dastardly villains just in time to hear ...more
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Our friends Jakob, Simon, & Magdalena are hot on the heels of another murder mystery. In the neighboring town of Oberammergau, the actor that was slated to play the part of Jesus in the town's Passion Play has literally been crucified on the cross. Was the understudy so jealous of the part that he needed to get rid of the actor? Simon was already in town to bring his oldest son to school for the year. Naturally he decides he needs to stay in town & do his part to help solve the mystery. Meanwhil ...more
Karen Barth
May 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[Disclaimer: I received a Kindle download of this book through a Goodreads giveaway to facilitate this review. No other compensation was offered or requested.] This is the 6th book in the Hangman's Daughter series and I have read and enjoyed them all. I would classify this book (and series) as a historical mystery thriller.

The story opens with the horror of the first victim as he slowing dies on a cross in the Oberammergau cemetery. The man was cast to play Jesus in the famous Oberammergau Pass
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Disclaimer: I received a Kindle download of this book through a Goodreads giveaway.

This is the sixth book in the series and I have read them all in order so was already familiar with the characters. The Kiusl family is once again up to their eyeballs in some kind of trouble or another. Jacob is suffering from depression after the death of his beloved wife and has taken to drowning his sorrows in alcohol. Jacob's youngest daughter, Barbara is starting to run wild and along with Jacob's drinking,
Feb 12, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I truly love everyone of these books. Even though my ratings have vacillated from 3 to 5 stars, the whole series gets five stars from me. Some of the individual books make I may not enjoy as much as others but as a whole I’ve moved from a new to now devoted fan.

For this particular book, I wasn’t as drawn into the setting as I was with the other books. I couldn’t picture the location in my head and the people weren’t notable. I thought it a mistake to split the family, although I appreciate the
Mystic Miraflores
Dec 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been a fan of the Jakob Kuisl Hangman series for a long time. Book #6 of the series has been in my To Be Read pile for a long time and thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions, I finally got around to reading it. Reading this book about the Kuisl family is like visiting old friends, or visiting crazy relatives. Everyone in the family is stubborn and feisty, even the women and the little boys. Of course, Simon, not a blood relative of the Kuisls, but someone who married into ...more
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The Value of a Star: Ratings Explained

It's hard to say exactly why I keep coming back for more of The Hangman's Daughter.

Is it the gruesome mysteries that must be solved? Is it the detailed historical fiction set in the uneducated, unhygienic, highly superstitious time period we call the dark ages? Instead of romanticized kings and queens living in comfortable castles, is it the true depictions of life in this time period that fascinates? The body odor, the ra
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was excited when I found out that I had won a HANGMAN'S DAUGHTER book from Goodreads. I couldn't wait to dive into the medieval world of hangman Jakob Kuisl and his family. THE PLAY OF DEATH certainly didn't disappoint. It was of the same caliber as the rest of the series. I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that I had become very concerned with the character Jakob. He seemed to be spiraling out of control showing the same behavior as his late father. However, by the book's end, ...more
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Play Book Tag: The Play of Death, by Oliver Potzsch 4 Stars 1 8 Apr 15, 2020 10:41AM  

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Oliver Pötzsch is a German writer and filmmaker. After high school he attended the German School of Journalism in Munich from 1992 to 1997. He then worked for Radio Bavaria. In addition to his professional activities in radio and television, Pötzsch researched his family history. He is a descendant of the Kuisle, from the 16th to the 19th Century a famous dynasty of executioners in Schongau.

Other books in the series

Die Henkerstochter - The Hangman's Daughter Series (8 books)
  • The Hangman's Daughter (The Hangman's Daughter, #1)
  • The Dark Monk (The Hangman's Daughter, #2)
  • The Beggar King (The Hangman's Daughter, #3)
  • The Poisoned Pilgrim (The Hangman's Daughter, #4)
  • The Werewolf of Bamberg (The Hangman's Daughter, # 5)
  • The Council of Twelve (The Hangman's Daughter #7)
  • Die Henkerstochter und der Fluch der Pest (Die Henkerstochter, #8)

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