The Hangman is Kind

October 5, 2016


The Hangman's Daughter
Oliver Pötzsch

Title: The Hangman’s Daughter
Author: Oliver Pötzsch, Translated by Lee Chadeayne
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Amazon Crossing/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: December 2010 (Amazon)/August 2011 (HMH)
Hardcover: 448 pages (HMH)

Do not skip the prologue. If you can read it without covering your eyes, dropping your book and squirming, then you might struggle to enjoy what follows.

A boy is found killed with a curious, witch like marking to his shoulder. Previous witch trials are brought to mind so the Hangman is summoned to investigate. By investigate I mean torture the midwife for a confession to the murder she did not commit. With a confession, a burning can take place and whispers and rumors can be set to rest.

Alas another child is found murdered while the midwife is imprisoned and peoples unknown have vandalized the building of the new Leprosaria

Jacob, the Hangman, his daughter Magdelena, and Simon the physician and love interest, must find who killed the children before the midwife is forced to confess and burned at the stake.

This story, based on Oliver Potzsch’s family history, is brutal in parts, but has a charming romance attached. The characters are big, drawn with color and the plot is intricate with a couple of swerves rather than twists and keeps you reading to the last pages.

I loved this book, but if I could find one issue is its length. It could've been tighter which would've added to the tension.


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