The Hangman's Daughter, by Oliver Potzsch

Hangman's Daughter

Posted on May 8, 2018 - 6:31pm

I enjoy historical fiction and mysteries. It seems most of the historical fiction I read takes place in Britain. When I saw The Hangman’s Daughter I was intrigued. When I realized it took place in Germany in 1659 right after the Thirty Years’ War, I knew I had to read it. It was an amazing adventure.

The German author Oliver Potzsch, has a Bavarian hangman in his family tree. The information you learn about hangmen and their families based on Potzsch’s research is very interesting. In the story, a midwife is accused of witchcraft after a drowning, and a murdered boy is discovered. As the village hangman, Jakob is to torture a confession from her. Meanwhile, others in the town have reported seeing the devil with a hand of bone. Jakob tries to keep his job to support his family while protecting the midwife and ending the murder spree.  The action and mystery keep you in suspense, even throw you for a loop.

I think The Hangman’s Daughter is more about the Hangman (Jakob) than his daughter (Magdalena), but don’t get hung up on that--she is featured in subsequent books. Along with the troubles in the town, Magdalena fights against the idea she is destined to marry another hangman’s daughter when the drunkard village physician’s son is in love with her. The hangman’s family members and townspeople are complicated and deep characters allowing for many more entertaining books in the series, which I highly recommend.

--Amanda, Part-time Library Assistant