Jeweleye's Reviews > The Hangman's Daughter

The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch
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's review
Feb 29, 2012

did not like it
Read from February 29 to March 09, 2012

The Hangman's Daughter is a mystery set in 17th Century Bavaria. The author is actually descended from a family of hangmen. The daughter referenced in the title has only a small role in the story.

Strange things are happening in the village of Schongau. A child has been murdered, and he had a witches' symbol on him. The village midwife has been arrested with plans to burn her after she has confessed to the murder. Then a leper house that is under construction is destroyed. Then the town's warehouse is destroyed by arson. People claim they have seen the devil with a bony hand. Two more children are found dead; two others are missing.

With everything going on, one would think there's a good story here. But alas, I could not find it. I'm not even sure why I finished reading it. The characters were wooden; the story clumsily told. The writing left something to be desired, although perhaps that is a fault of the translation. If nothing else, the book could have used a stronger editor.

With a 17th Century setting, I would have expected a little more historical background. For example, a war had just ended. There are vague references to the French and the Swedes. I would have liked to have had a bit more context here.


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