Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Review: The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch

In a small town in 17th century Germany, orphaned children are being murdered and an innocent woman is being blamed as a witch. With few allies and the hysteria rising, the town's executioner and physician team up to find the real killer.

An oddly titled novel, since although the hangman's daughter does play a role in this, she is not the central character. It's told in third-person from mostly the points of view of the hangman himself, the town's young physician, and a few other characters. The title misnomer didn't bother me very much though, what bothered me was the lack of cultural details, and the occasionally stilted dialogue and narration, which I assume was due to the translation. With this being set in a small 17th century German town, I was hoping to see more of the culture come through, but it really could have been set anywhere during the 17th century. I did find the information about executioners and physicians during this time period interesting, but I felt like that would have been true for any European small town, not just Germany. The book is apparently based on the author's own ancestors, who were executioners, so I felt like the author did a great job researching and portraying the culture of the executioners' society, but not much else.

It also had a little bit of a slow start but picked up the pace eventually. All in all, a fairly average murder mystery, which are a dime a dozen. Good for a "light read" if that's what you're looking for but don't expect it to live up to its hype. It's unlikely I'll be motivated to read the rest of the series.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...