Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Hangman's Daughter (The Hangman's Daughter, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Hangman's Daughter (The Hangman's Daughter, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Hangman's Daughter

(Die Henkerstochter #1)

by
3.73  ·  Rating details ·  64,402 ratings  ·  5,936 reviews
Magdalena, the clever and headstrong daughter of Bavarian hangman Jakob Kuisl, lives with her father outside the village walls and is destined to be married off to another hangman’s son—except that the town physician’s son is hopelessly in love with her. And her father’s wisdom and empathy are as unusual as his despised profession. It is 1659, the Thirty Years’ War has fin ...more
Kindle Edition, 448 pages
Published December 7th 2010 by AmazonCrossing (first published March 13th 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Hangman's Daughter, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Tami No, the book begins with Jacob's father being the town's Hangman. It mentions that the job of Hangman is passed down from father to son, so Jacob is…moreNo, the book begins with Jacob's father being the town's Hangman. It mentions that the job of Hangman is passed down from father to son, so Jacob is one in a long line of Hangmen in the family. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  64,402 ratings  ·  5,936 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Jeffrey Keeten
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Under torture you are as if under the dominion of those grasses that produce visions. Everything you have heard told, everything you have read returns to your mind, as if you were being transported, not toward heaven, but toward hell. Under torture you say not only what the inquisitor wants, but also what you imagine might please him, because a bond (this, truly, diabolical) is established between you and him ... These things I know, Ubertino; I also have belonged to those groups of men who bel ...more
Stacey
(Updated 1.30)
1.27.11 (20% read) Having a difficult time with this one. That's what I get for jumping on the popularity bandwagon. So far, the titular character has been on one page. ONE! WTF translators?!! Was this the original title? And it just feels a bit anachronistic, nothing (so far) I can really put a finger on, but I'm wondering if this is "new novelist" or "uninspired translation," or just plain sophomoric writing?

Meh. It'll get better, right? I hope... Last time I succumbed to "every
...more
Adina
A strong and enjoyable debut of a new series set in Schongau, Germany. The setting was the main reason I decided to give this series a try. Usually, historical mysteries happen either in London or somewhere in the US. This is why The Hangman's daughter is a breeze of fresh air in the genre.

1659. Schongau's Hangman, Jakob Kuisl is a feared man, avoided because of superstitions but also sought out for his healing skills. His daughter is too smart for a young girl and follows into her dad's shoes
...more
Willow
The Hangman’s Daughter is not quite the right title for this book. Yes the main character is a hangman, Jakob Kuisl, and yes, he's got a daughter, but this is not her story. She's not the main protagonist. The hangman is. The Hangman's Daughter is basically a mystery about some child murders.

The book starts off with Jakob as a boy witnessing a gristly, botched execution. It’s a shocking scene – grim and edgy. It perfectly captures the ghoulishness of 17th century, public, capital punishment.

Un
...more
David Mullen
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of historical fiction, thrillers, and mysteries
Recommended to David by: Amazon.com
I really enjoyed this historical thriller. It gives us a snapshot into the life of transitioning to modern period / medieval Germans. It just has a very authentic ring to it. Although, the translator uses some rather modern language here and there in his translation...it was originally written in German. In fact the authors family is the actual family of our hangman in the title. This hangman is a 5th generation executioner, a medicine man, and a tough guy. He and the mid-wife in the town share ...more
Julie
Jun 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-shelf
This was an excellent historical thriller. Set in Germany in the 1600's, the story involves a hangman and his family. When a midwife is accused of witchcraft, the hangman tries to solve the mystery of who is killing young orphaned children, all bearing a strange symbol on their bodies.
The politics and superstitions of that time seemed authentic. The mystery is impossible to guess and the suspense builds until you are on the edge of your seat.
The book was translated from German to English. Very
...more
Michael
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a 3.5/4 for me. Basically I found this to be a very good genre crime novel set in 17th century Bavaria. There are good guys and bad guys, with the good guys using logic and rationality to solve a series of child murders before the killer strikes again, while others in the town think the murders are the result of witchcraft and devilry. The pages fly swiftly, the mystery is engrossing, and the historical setting is interesting. If you're looking for a morally uncomplicated historical mys ...more
Joel Margolese
Overall, this book reads like a college research paper reworked the following term for a creative writing class in the spring of freshman year.

I love good historical fiction, but this book just doesn't deserve the adjective. The first problem is the title. The Hangman's daughter is wonderful, but a very minor character. I learned after the fact that it's a translation (poorly done) and based on the author's family which explains his fawning view of the hangman. There were a number of anachronis
...more
 Linda (Miss Greedybooks)
I have read some reviews that say this is not about the Hangman's daughter, but about The Hangman (Jakob) & The Physician (Simon). I thought Magdalena played a key role - and I liked the strong female characters throughout the story. The midwives & also Jakob, being thought of as witches by the very same people that come knocking upon their doors after dark for a potion, or to help deliver a baby.

So well described are the people - the "devil with his bone hand" is truly frightening. The
...more
✨Tamara
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very well-researched.
A town in the grip of a witch craze, children gone missing or turn up dead, treasure, torture and forbidden love. This is Jakob Kusil's world where he looms over the town like a dark shadow as he plays the role of the hangman. Can Jakob and his trusted friend Simon solve the mystery and discover the perpetrator before all is lost?
Okay first off, this book was beautifully written. even though it was written in another language originally it translates very beautifully to Engl
...more
Montzalee Wittmann
The Hangman's Daughter (The Hangman's Daughter #1) by Oliver Pötzsch, Lee Chadeayne (Translator) is a very interesting book. I listened to the audio version and the narrator was perfect for this. The world building was wonderful, felt like I was back in time and living in this world. The characters were well developed. The book has suspense, mystery, superstition, murder, and more. I did enjoy this unusual book.
Gary
Oct 17, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I broke my own rule about finishing a book if I have read 50 pages of it. I was really bored by this book and saw over 200+ pages to go and had to quit. I really can't read this anymore. Maybe it's the translation. I have no idea. I know that this book has been an absolute chore for me to read for the last 100 pages at least and I am giving up.
Clif Hostetler
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book describes a historic time, place, and environment (1660—Schongau, Germany—witchcraft fear) within which a fictional murder mystery plot is placed. In this fictional plot we meet the town’s executioner whose task is to torture a woman to force a confession so she can be burned at the stake for witchcraft. The town officials believe that such an execution will calm down the widespread belief among the townspeople that the woman's witchcraft is causing the death of children and other sort ...more
Melanie
I liked the setting, (small, walled hamlet in Bavaria), the characters (the hangman, his daughter, a physician and the bad guys, to name a few) and the time frame (witch hunts and torture chambers make for interesting reading) but it went really slow for me. I would like to continue with the series to see what happens next with the characters. I'm hoping the next book moves a bit quicker!

An interesting tidbit is that the author is a descendant of the main character, Kuisel, the hangman!
Doreen
Mar 11, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I chose this book because of its being set in Bavaria (a part of Germany I have visited and really like), because of its rather original concept (a hangman as detective), and because of the many glowing reviews it has received. I feel cheated.

Set in the village of Schongau in 1659, it revolves around the death and/or disappearance of several children. Martha Stechlin, the local midwife, is quickly suspected of being a witch and thought to be responsible. Jakob Kuisl, the hangman, must torture he
...more
Carol
Jan 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I thought the story of the handman's history was interesting. And the mystery of the killer kept me reading. I was surprised to find out, at the end of the book, the book is based on historical facts for the most part; as well as it being about his family history. We all want to know who our ancestors are; but to find out you can from a long line of hangman would be so shocking.
Matt
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Hangman’s Daughter

A book I read by accident-
This is because I clicked the right button but in the wrong browser tab and I accidentally bought the Kindle edition of this book when I really wanted was another book by the same author, Der Spielmann, depicting the life of the historical Johann Georg Faustus. But never mind. The wrong decision turned out to be the right one after all.

April 1659. A boy is found dead on the banks of the river Lech near the town of Schongau in Bavaria. Obviously th
...more
Shaina
Once I got into this, it was very good. It just took a bit of world building because you have a whole village to get set up in, another time, another culture, well, just like any other new place. I was worried because of this that I would forget who was whom.
Well, there is a guide in the front of major players and really you will get to know those whom matter sooner than later. Don’t let the cast of characters, nor the beginning, nor all the use of German scare you off.
It’s really cool. I had
...more
Ann Collette
Oct 18, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There's been a lot of noise lately about Amazon bypassing major commercial publishers and publishing books directly themselves. Based on this deadly dull "thriller," major commercial publishing has nothing to worry about. I have no idea why it's called THE HANGMAN'S DAUGHTER, cause she doesn't play much of a role in the book. I have no idea why the translator of this book was chosen for the job, since he not only has zero understanding of pace but has no feel at all for the time period the book ...more
Lyndz
Sep 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the last quarter of this book, I struggled with the first three-quarters. I had some issues with the translation. In addition to the flow being off for me in places, there were phrases and words that I had to stop and read again to understand what was meant. In the first half of the book, I found myself skimming large sections of descriptions that did not seem pertinent.
I had a hard time keeping the lesser characters in the book straight, and that was undoubtedly due to my own inability
...more
Carmen
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
This story takes place in Bavaria in 1659. It is not really that much about the hangman's daughter, than it is about the hangman and the young physician in the town. There is a lot about torture and death that is a little uncomfortable to read about. But overall it was gripping and had compelling characters. (view spoiler) ...more
Tim The Enchanter
My #10 Favorite read of 2013

A superb 4.5 Stars

An excellent historical fiction mystery. The background is German town in 1659. Our two major players are the intelligent and kind-hearted town hangman/torturer/street cleaner and a young, questioning Doctor with an inquisitive mind.

I am a bit of a Historical Fiction snob. Traditionally, it has been my favorite genre. When I read a new HF, I have a hundred others to which it is compared. As a mystery, this book works exceptionally well. The story
...more
Johanna
I've been reading too much fantasy lately and needed a break … so I decided to read a historical crime fiction involving witches … yeah … in my head that made a lot more sense.
First let me mention a little complaint here. Despite being titled The Hangman's Daughter … this book isn't actually about the hangman's daughter. Of the 500 pages and multiple POV's maybe 50 were from Magdalena's POV (the titular hangman's daughter), which is only slightly more than the wrongfully accused midwife. The act
...more
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
Interesting story. I do agree with what others have said, that this book could have been shorter. There really was some stuff that didnt have to be in it to enjoy it. But all in all this was an good book about whether or not witchcraft took place in their town when dead bodies with weird marks start showing up.
Becky
"Germany, 1660: When a dying boy is pulled from the river with a mark crudely tattooed on his shoulder, hangman Jakob Kuisl is called upon to investigate whether witchcraft is at play. So begins The Hangman's Daughter--the chillingly detailed, fast-paced historical thriller[...]"

I think it was set in Germany, somewhere around 1660 (who's counting?), but otherwise, the description for this book is full of lies. The mark wasn't "tattooed" crudely or otherwise, it was drawn in freaking berry juice.
...more
Terri
The Hangman's Daughter held a surprise in its pages for me. It was not an immediate surprise and it took some time for it to actually dawn on me. It came late in the book. About two thirds of the way through, and despite what you may be thinking, no, it had nothing to do with the mystery or the 'hook' or the whodunnit. The surprise came in the form of the history and how the author's research had been inserted within the story.

I knew how important the research was to this author, as I was lucky
...more
Nancy
I really liked this, particularly the detailed depiction of life in a Bavarian town in the 1600s just after the Thirty Years' War, but also for the main character, who is the town's hangman, one in a long line of hereditary executioners. This becomes all the more interesting when you learn in an afterword to the book that the author is himself a descendant of the main character, Jakob Kuisl. And the story is quite good, a multiple-murder mystery that revolves around wrongful accusations of witch ...more
Brenda  Whitner
Mar 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was definitely a page turner. I couldn't put the book down at times. The ending moved a little slow. This was the story about the executioner Jakob Kuisl and his mission to save the midwife Martha from a crime that she did not commit. Children were dying and on their backs were a witch’s symbol. They blamed the midwife for being a witch and had her arrested and tortured until she admitted that she committed the crime. Jakob knew that the midwife was innocent. Two children were murdered afte ...more
Linda
Jan 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own-on-kindle
This was a good book. One cannot complain at all about lack of description of the venue nor the main characters. The author makes them very real. As well as the gore, which really turned me off. Maybe I should have expected it given the title, but the detail, I felt was a bit over the top. At some point it started to drag for me, maybe because I had figured out the "whodunnit part." Funny thing is "The Hangman" is my favorite character in this novel. It was very interesting as far as being an hi ...more
Helena
Dec 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Blind date with a book challenge)

A decent, interesting story but the amount of unnecessary information is unbearable.

Also, going into this I expected something completely different so don't let the title and the book description fool you. Magdalena, the Hangman's daughter, is only a minor character. The story revolves around her father, Jakob, and the mystery happening in their city.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Reading Merma...: May Discussion Schedule 9 94 Jun 16, 2019 06:25AM  
The Reading Merma...: Discussion #1 5 57 May 12, 2019 04:23PM  
The Reading Merma...: Discussion #2 1 31 May 11, 2019 11:42PM  
Bookworm Bitches : September 2012: The Hangman's Daughter 62 377 Jun 23, 2018 07:50AM  
All About Books: The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Potzsch 63 118 Oct 01, 2016 10:51PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Persona Non Grata (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #3)
  • A Trace of Smoke (Hannah Vogel, #1)
  • The Bloodletter's Daughter: A Novel of Old Bohemia
  • Murder at the Lanterne Rouge (Aimee Leduc Investigations, #12)
  • Sacrilege (Giordano Bruno, #3)
  • Poison (The Poisoner Mysteries, #1)
  • A Murderous Procession (Mistress of the Art of Death, #4)
  • The Sleepwalkers (Willi Kraus, #1)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
  • Darkness Rising (Liebermann Papers, #4)
  • What Alice Knew: A Most Curious Tale of Henry James & Jack the Ripper
  • Where Serpents Sleep (Sebastian St. Cyr, #4)
  • The Mosaic of Shadows (Demetrios Askiates, #1)
  • The Crown (Joanna Stafford, #1)
  • The Demon's Parchment (Crispin Guest, #3)
  • Monk's Hood (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #3)
  • The Handmaid's Tale
  • The Bones of Avalon (John Dee Papers #1)
See similar books…
1,553 followers
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 (7 books)
  • 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 Play of Death (The Hangman's Daughter, #6)
  • Die Henkerstochter und der Rat der Zwölf (Die Henkerstochter #7)
“Life went on, despite all the dying.” 45 likes
“And all because of a mistaken concept of compassion!” 17 likes
More quotes…