The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Potzsch
Reviewed by Cassandra, Librarian at Mary Jacobs Library
After spending the summer reading every Michael Koryta and Jo Nesbo book that I could get my hands on I figured I should change things up a little bit. When The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Potzsch appeared in a book review magazine I thought it just might be the change of pace I needed. There is nothing like heading into the Halloween season with a good historical thriller.
I love well written historical fiction especially if it takes place any time from Ancient History to Medieval Europe. This story takes place in Schongau, Germany in 1659 and starts with an unspeakable murder that has the potential to create mass hysteria and the resurgence of the witch trials that took the lives of many town women 70 years prior. It is up to the hangman and the young town physician to find the murderer/murderers before an innocent woman is tried for witchcraft. The tale involves mystery, murder, love, hysteria and every sort of outcast that can be thought up from orphans to lepers. The setting is so real you can almost smell the sewage in the streets and feel the weight of the hangman’s sword or club. The characters are easy to love and hate which makes for a great story.
For me one of the best bits was finding out that this story came from the author’s search into his genealogy. The story has been translated from German and the translator, Lee Chadeayne does an excellent job.