The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Pötzch

Published August 6, 2021

The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Pötzch

Book info

  • Title The Hangman's Daughter
  • Author Oliver Pötzch
  • Year 2008
  • Genre Historical

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 in his small Bavarian town. Whispers and dark memories of witch trials and the women burned at the stake just seventy years earlier still haunt the streets of Schongau. When more children disappear and an orphan boy is found dead--marked by the same tattoo--the mounting hysteria threatens to erupt into chaos. Before the unrest forces him to torture and execute the very woman who aided in the birth of his children, Jakob must unravel the truth. With the help of his clever daughter, Magdelena, and Simon, the university-educated son of the town’s physician, Jakob discovers that a devil is indeed loose in Schongau. But it may be too late to prevent bloodshed.


I tried to read this once before, and I’m not sure why I didn’t get further than a few chapters, because on a second reading, it was pretty gripping. The initial mystery and underlying whodunit was great, and kept me interested, along with the fascinating time period and disturbing mentalities of the village at that time.

The only problem with it was at times it felt a bit drawn out, perhaps too repetitive in places - torture the woman, find the children, torture the woman, find the children. But I stuck with it and was glad to get to the big reveal towards the end, and curious to see what happens in the rest of the series.

Rating: 3 / 5

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