Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Hangman's Daughter - Oliver Potzsch

This is another review written retrospectively. The book was a January kindle offer. I was intrigued by the idea that the author is a descendant of the hangman in the title, although the story is fiction. So, I decided to give it a go.

In 17th C Germany each town had a hangman/ torturer, whose job it was to get the truth from anyone accused of any crime. They also had a number of other roles, including keeping the streets free of ordure. This lead to the whole family being seen of as some kind of 'untouchables', social outcasts.

This was an interesting revelation, as was the historical detail of life in mid 17th C Germany. 

This is a historical crime story, so various nefarious people hatch dastardly plots. Good people are stitched up and on the verge of torture. Of course, the kindly hangman, who is really just a sweetie - hard but with an honest heart, exposes the blackguards, with the help of his beautiful (but reviled) daughter, and her boyfriend, a wastrel doctor who dropped out of university. The honest people of the town go free - missing the odd fingernail.

OK, it was OK. The language was a bit clunky in places, but this might be because it is in translation. I was held by the story. It's historical crime, so I wasn't expecting great literature, or even particularly well drawn characters.

6/10. Not something I'd re-read. Now I will review the other book that I bought from this series - the Beggar King.

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