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Die Henkerstochter [Reading] ➸ Die Henkerstochter By Oliver Pötzsch – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk Magdalena the clever and headstrong daughter of Bavarian hangman Jakob Kuisl lives with her father outside the village walls and is destined to be married off to another hangman’s son—except that Magdalena the clever and headstrong daughter of Bavarian hangman Jakob Kuisl lives with her father outside the village walls and is destined to be married off to another hangman’s son—except that the town physician’s son is hopelessly in love with her And her father’s wisdom and empathy are as unusual as his despised profession It is the Thirty Years’ War has finally ended and there hasn’t been a witchcraft mania in decades But now a drowning and gruesomely injured boy tattooed with the mark of a witch is pulled from a river and the villagers suspect the local midwife Martha StechlinJakob Kuisl is charged with extracting a confession from her and torturing her until he gets one Convinced she is innocent he Magdalena and her would be suitor race against the clock to find the true killer Approaching Walpurgisnacht when witches are believed to dance in the forest and mate with the devil another tattooed orphan is found dead and the town becomes frenzied More than one person has spotted what looks like the devil—a man with a hand made only of bones The hangman his daughter and the doctor’s son face a terrifying and very real enemyPage Numbers Source ISBN X.


About the Author: Oliver Pötzsch

Oliver Pötzsch is a German writer and filmmaker After high school he attended the German School of Journalism in Munich from to He then worked for Radio Bavaria In addition to his professional activities in radio and television Pötzsch researched his family history He is a descendant of the Kuisle from the th to the th Century a famous dynasty of executioners in Schongau.



10 thoughts on “Die Henkerstochter

  1. Jeffrey Keeten Jeffrey Keeten says:

    “Under torture you are as if under the dominion of those grasses that produce visions Everything you have heard told everything you have read returns to your mind as if you were being transported not toward heaven but toward hell Under torture you say not only what the inuisitor wants but also what you imagine might please him because a bond this truly diabolical is established between you and him These things I know Ubertino; I also have belonged to those groups of men who believe they can produce the truth with white hot iron Well let me tell you the white heat of truth comes from another flame” ― Umberto Eco The Name of the RoseThe Bavarian town of Schongau already has a multitude of problems an ongoing trade war with the Augsburgers a fiery controversy over building a leper house and the ever present fears of plague and witchcraft It is 1659 but just seventy years previously over 60 women were burned at the stake for witchcraft When a young boy is pulled from the river who had been bludgeoned to death and bears the mark of witchcraft on his back the superstitious fears explode into full throated cries for immediate pitchfork and torch vengeance The easy target is the local midwife Martha Stechlin who not only has birthed most of the towns children taking money away from local doctors in the process but she has also has offered cures for coughs rashes and pains with mystifyingly good results Like most witch hunts that I’ve read about the women who are accused are usually those women who are under suspicion for reasons to do with petty jealousy revenge or the fact that the women have accumulated knowledge of the medical arts that generally supersede the knowledge of the local trained medical profession They are dangerous women because they havepowerAn unlikely man stands between Martha Stechlin and death by mob the hangman Jakob Kuisl He comes from a long line of ancestors who all provided this specialized skill for the state Besides executions as part of his service to the community he also tortures removes dead animals provides treatment for various ailments and in the case of this story he also with the help of a calming smoking pipe filled with this wonderful intoxicating weed from the New World investigates the circumstances surrounding this accusation of witchcraft As children show up dead bearing the same marks of witchcraft on their back and with numerous sightings of a man with a skeletal hand that could only be the devil Jakob finds himself in a desperate race to find out who is really behind the death of the children before he has to break Martha under torture To gain time he gave Martha a potion that relieves some of the pain from the thumbscrews He keeps assuring her not to not give up and confess to something he knows she hasn’t done Unfortunately even though Jakob of the 17th century knows that anyone can be made to confess to anything under the proper torture techniues As recently as the George W Bush administration torture was still in use It was even crowed about to the press regarding the success level of such enhanced interrogation techniues by the Vice President of the United States“You give me a water board Dick Cheney and one hour and I'll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murdersLarry King Live May 11 2009” ― Jesse VenturaJakob has one ally a young doctor named Simon Fronwieser who started spending a lot of time at the Kuisl household when he found that the hangman had books that were not only expensive but in some cases had been banned from circulation He had books by Dioscorides Scultetus Pare Bartisch and Paracelsus Young Simon may have come for the books but he stayed for the exclusive time he could steal with the beautiful Magdalena Kuisl the hangman’s daughter One hangup for any future between the two young lovebirds is that offspring of the unclean profession of the hangman must marry in their own family In fact much to her chagrin Magdalena is engaged to marry a cousin a rather unappealing creature with a bovine appearance from a nearby town Is the Devil loose in Schongau?The characters of Jakob and Simon added so much additional enjoyment for me while reading this book They are learned inuisitive men who understand the world is not black and white but a rainbow of shades of gray What an interest concept to have a man such as Jakob who decides that despite his misgivings about the inhumane aspects of torture that he best serves his community by remaining in a profession he loathes It is the only way to insure that justice is properly meted out to those that deserve it and compassion can be dispensed to those he has no chance to save from injustice I liked this book much than I expected Potzsch sprinkles in enough aspects of 17th century Bavarian society to give the reader a feel for the place but he does not weigh the text down with too much historical detail Personally I like my books with as much weight as a writer wants to throw at me but in this case he has successfully created a historical murder mystery that is compulsively readable Mr Potzsch is actually descended from the Kuisl family who were in fact hangmen Now the first reaction one might have to discovering they are descended from such a scourged profession might be to feel a bit disgusted but after the initial nausea passes think of the fascination in researching such a genealogy I’m pleasantly surprised and look forward to reading the rest of the entries in this series If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews visit also have a Facebook blogger page at


  2. Stacey Stacey says:

    Updated 13012711 20% read Having a difficult time with this one That's what I get for jumping on the popularity bandwagon So far the titular character has been on one page ONE WTF translators? Was this the original title? And it just feels a bit anachronistic nothing so far I can really put a finger on but I'm wondering if this is new novelist or uninspired translation or just plain sophomoric writing? Meh It'll get better right? I hope Last time I succumbed to everybody's reading it I got shafted with The Historian Please Book Gnomes don't let this be another one of those12911finished That wasn't so bad I still can't figure out why it was called The Hangman's Daughter since she really played a tertiary role in the storyline Heck even the Leper House got face time than the daughter Mary Sue err I mean Magdalena It's not so much that this was poorly written because it wasn't Sentences flowed well dialogue made sense people did things It just felt uninspired There was so much rich history to work with here and yet the history turned out to be such a bit player just a background to the incessant “she's a witch Let's burn her” “No we have to torture a confession out of her first” vs “pssst I know you're not a witch so imma torture you just a little bit to buy some time We still friends?” There's also the basic plot device of a shadowy unidentified villain who is behind the crime spree that has been pinned on the suspect witch Even though we get to see the character as part of the story there's little hint of his motivation Not surprisingly this novel has been something of a runaway bestseller I suppose I shouldn't be perplexed because it's one of those reads where you don't really have to strain your mind or even remember anything It's not uite book club pablum because there is a story here but all punches have been pulled and the story has been watered down to “crowd pleaser” You beer enthusiasts know exactly what I mean Think of your FAVORITE brewpub with the most unusual beers – hoppy malty maybe a touch of anise maybe it's organic perhaps an imperial – and what is the pub's bestseller? “Amber” Or Coors Lite Why is Lipton Tea the most popular tea in American? There are so many wonderful amazing teas and it's nearly the exact same preparation method except instead of “sweepings and fannings”the teeny tiny dusty bits they sweep off the tables into teabags you get actual leaf No comparisonSheeple Frustration I can't even load this into my “so bad it pissed me off”category because it wasn't so bad It DID piss me off because it could have been SO MUCH BETTER But of course if this book had lived up to its potential it probably never would have seen publication There's cynicism for you People want pablum The vast majority of bestsellers are powdered milk Coors Lite Lipton – stories that could have been I did learn a lot about Leprosy well not from this book but because I was skeptical that leprosy had played such a large role in medieval Europe Interestingly I discovered that it was indeed epidemic around the 11th through the 13th centuries and was probably spread as a result of soldiers returning from the Crusades It's estimated that there were as many as 20000 leper houses spread throughout Europe by the late 12th century thank you public library librarian Unfortunately for the historicity of this novel which suggests that every city has its own leper house the events are occurring in the mid 17th century by which time leprosy was mostly a non starter with only a few isolated casesisolated sanatoriums which housed the relatively few sufferers Wikipedia tells me that Norway had an epidemic in the early 19th century notable for it's exception All of this creates a time problem For the leprosy to be period correct the story would have to be staged over 300 years earlier But witch burning in Europe reached a peak in the mid 16th century which makes it time correct for the setting of this novel One or the other critical story element has to be anachronistic if the author is determined to keep both elements These issues did not exist in eual import simultaneously in Europe Witch hunts are an incredible and unbelievable viewing scope into religious intolerance hysteria misconception and suspicion Here again we get barely the framework of a story Here again we have something that could have been so much And here again we have something that had it been so much might not have been marketable Which is why ultimately the story frustrated me I learned some fascinating things because of uestions sparked by the novel but I didn't learn them from the novel I don't expect stories I read to become textbooks – in fact I don't want them to be But historical novels can be so much than simply mindless entertainment They can give us a backward look at where we came from and insight into our modern trajectory “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” George Santayana


  3. Adina Adina says:

    A strong and enjoyable debut of a new series set in Schongau Germany The setting was the main reason I decided to give this series a try Usually historical mysteries happen either in London or somewhere in the US This is why The Hangman's daughter is a breeze of fresh air in the genre 1659 Schongau's Hangman Jakob Kuisl is a feared man avoided because of superstitions but also sought out for his healing skills His daughter is too smart for a young girl and follows into her dad's shoes with her knowledge of plants and their healing properties Simon the physician's son is interested in the new medicine methods and is seeking guidance from the hangman The bonus is that he gets to see his daughter When a child is found dead in a river bearing a strange mark known in witching practices and the town's midwife is arrested the three heroes start together to find the true killer The mystery was interesting enough I did not guess the culprit and I enjoyed the characters However the book was a bit too long and some parts were a bit repetitive Moreover I don't understand why the book and the series is called the Hangman's Daughter She is one of the three main characters but maybe the one less important Jakob Kuisl would be the star if i were to peak one of them but i believe the Shongau murders or something else would be suitable I already bought the next one as it was on offer so I will continue with the series hopefully it will get better and better


  4. David Mullen David Mullen says:

    I really enjoyed this historical thriller It gives us a snapshot into the life of transitioning to modern period medieval Germans It just has a very authentic ring to it Although the translator uses some rather modern language here and there in his translationit was originally written in German In fact the authors family is the actual family of our hangman in the title This hangman is a 5th generation executioner a medicine man and a tough guy He and the mid wife in the town share helpful solutions back and forth when someone is illmidwives were notoriously suspected of witchcraft whether they partook of uackery or not When someone starts slaughtering children of the village one by one she is uickly suspected thrown in jail and tortured to confessby our hangman who is also trying to find the true culprit before he has to burn her at the stake Lots of twists and turns and much learning of Germany in the meantime Great read


  5. Willow Willow says:

    The Hangman’s Daughter is not uite the right title for this book Yes the main character is a hangman Jakob Kuisl and yes he's got a daughter but this is not her story She's not the main protagonist The hangman is The Hangman's Daughter is basically a mystery about some child murders The book starts off with Jakob as a boy witnessing a gristly botched execution It’s a shocking scene – grim and edgy It perfectly captures the ghoulishness of 17th century public capital punishment Unfortunately it’s the most powerful scene in this book After reading The Last Valley I always figured that Germany was a wasteland after The Thirty Years War There’s no doubt that the Sack of Magdeburg in 1630 was a bloody slaughter Out of 30000 people only 5000 survived Thousands of charred bodies were dumped in the Elbe River for fourteen days to prevent disease By 1648 only 450 people were left in the city I’m sure any person who witnessed this event could never be left unscathed In fact the Captain from The Last Valley says 'God? There is no God He died at Magdeburg' So this is another horrible event that Jakob Kusil witnesses and it’s left him a hard and grizzled man He’s an interesting character The son of a hangman he left his village to find his fortune as a soldier only to find death Now he’s a jack of all trades working as an executioner and as an apothecary Does he try to heal people to ease his conscious? I’d like to think so but this is definitely not fully explored Jakob is a likable detective but he’s not wildly complex In fact most of the characters aren’t wildly complex I decided there are three kinds of people in this book There are the good guys Jakob and his buddies who are trying to solve the mystery All of them are enlightened unshackled by the superstition and hypocrisy of their time well read and they bathe Then there are the townspeople who are mostly ignorant greedy unfeeling clods And last but not least there are the rogue soldiers who are the real bad guys To my surprise there wasn’t a single lecherous power hungry priest The mystery is pretty predictable and it seemed to take forever to get anywhere The reasons the action wasn’t moving was kind of lame too For instance I still don’t know why Jakob Schreevogl the stovemaker didn’t do anything when his beloved adopted daughter was abducted Don’t most parents go out and look for their children? I would have figured he’d have started a hue and cry insisting that everybody get their torches and start looking for his baby Instead he tells the hangman ‘let me know if you find her’ Wtf??And good grief the townspeople were obnoxious I realize that their apathy and cruelty could be attributed to war superstition and the brutal time period but that’s not how it’s presented Instead these bunholes just seem to be an excuse as to why the mystery can’t be solved sooner Conseuently they annoyed the crap out of me grrrrAnyway I’m giving this book three stars I did find the history surrounding the Kusil family intriguing but I don’t think it made up for the slow read and the annoying townspeople


  6. Julie Julie says:

    This was an excellent historical thriller Set in Germany in the 1600's the story involves a hangman and his family When a midwife is accused of witchcraft the hangman tries to solve the mystery of who is killing young orphaned children all bearing a strange symbol on their bodiesThe politics and superstitions of that time seemed authentic The mystery is impossible to guess and the suspense builds until you are on the edge of your seat The book was translated from German to English Very uniue Overall an A


  7. Michael Michael says:

    This was a 354 for me Basically I found this to be a very good genre crime novel set in 17th century Bavaria There are good guys and bad guys with the good guys using logic and rationality to solve a series of child murders before the killer strikes again while others in the town think the murders are the result of witchcraft and devilry The pages fly swiftly the mystery is engrossing and the historical setting is interesting If you're looking for a morally uncomplicated historical mystery this is a great choice So what explains why I didn't rate it higher? At the time I picked this up I was perhaps in the mood for something morally and aesthetically challenging something with complex characters and striking prose This book doesn't really deliver those kinds of goods I can't really fault the book it is what it is but I mention this because sometimes it's useful to know what's not in a book so you're not looking for what you won't find


  8. Joel Margolese Joel Margolese says:

    Overall this book reads like a college research paper reworked the following term for a creative writing class in the spring of freshman year I love good historical fiction but this book just doesn't deserve the adjective The first problem is the title The Hangman's daughter is wonderful but a very minor character I learned after the fact that it's a translation poorly done and based on the author's family which explains his fawning view of the hangman There were a number of anachronisms and odd facts that just jumped out at me and just general oddities Could villagers have eaten carrots in the spring? Where did they get them? The translation and possibly the German I don't know included much modern phrasing I certainly don't expect archaic German but the language should match the setting There were a number of characters too many to track so I ended just waiting to see which were significant I felt at many points that the author was simply hiding things from us to create suspense because he couldn't think of any other way to achieve it I almost stopped reading when one character a poor old woman in a tiny village pulled down a paper calendar with a picture of a saint for this month Really? It's bad enough to suppose that she didn't know what feast was coming up but that anyone in that era would use valuable paper for something as trivial as a calendar and mark holidays? And include a picture? How did this picture get created in the 1600's? Engraving I suppose YeeshThe biggest problem for me was the Hangman What a potentially interesting character We see parts of his struggles with his role but in the end his doubts and despair just disappear He's also a little too perfect Why are physicians in historical novels always so wise in modern medicine? I can accept a hangman who is well read understands herbs etc But he's also apparently the best doctor in what will be called Germany though these characters refer to Germany which presages Bismark by 200 years How did he get his hands on the latest and coincidently the most accurate medical texts in Europe? He is the strongest smartest calmest and most advanced person in town Finally the characters were all 1 dimensional Good or evil or just confusing Their motivations were weak Why does the hangman care so much? Why do the villains care so much? How does a little town have so many bailiffs? In the end I feel bad for the readers hooked into this thinking it's great historical fiction when there is so many better novels out there


  9. ✨Sumi& ✨Sumi& says:

    Very well researchedA town in the grip of a witch craze children gone missing or turn up dead treasure torture and forbidden love This is Jakob Kusil's world where he looms over the town like a dark shadow as he plays the role of the hangman Can Jakob and his trusted friend Simon solve the mystery and discover the perpetrator before all is lost?Okay first off this book was beautifully written even though it was written in another language originally it translates very beautifully to English A lot of times when I read books that were originally written in a different language and then translated to English they come out very choppy Not so with this book I found the book astonishingly well researched for the time period and especially the torture devices mentioned in the book I also found it surprisingly and delightfully gory which I was not expecting at allI got the Kindle version of this book and it is the first book that I've ever encountered that has the animation in it I think that it was a nice touch because it helps you to envision the scenes a little bit better however the animation and illustrations themselves seemed a little juvenile especially for the content of the book Perhaps if they would have made them shadowy black and white figures instead of in color cartoonish characters it would have been flattering to the storyThere is a lot going on in this book The storyline in the beginning is like a murder mystery but it does not read like one Then towards the end you get to treasure hunting There is just so much going on in this book and it's hard to keep track I personally think that it is a good read and it does keep your interest however it also falls flat in places because there is so much going on It's almost like the author couldn't decide where he wanted to go with the book Because of these things perhaps the book was a little longer than it should have beenI have one last uirrel with this book and that is the title Magdalena does not have a big enough part in this book in order to warrant the name of the book itself I think that she should have gotten a bigger role in the story this sets the reader up for disappointment because as you are reading you keep waiting and waiting for Magdalena to have a bigger role and unfortunately she never does Perhaps she does in the series but that still doesn't warrant the first book to brandish her title All in all it was a very good and enjoyable read I really did enjoy it And I would definitely recommend it to those looking for a good historical fiction


  10. Linda (Miss Greedybooks) Linda (Miss Greedybooks) says:

    I have read some reviews that say this is not about the Hangman's daughter but about The Hangman Jakob The Physician Simon I thought Magdalena played a key role and I liked the strong female characters throughout the story The midwives also Jakob being thought of as witches by the very same people that come knocking upon their doors after dark for a potion or to help deliver a baby So well described are the people the devil with his bone hand is truly frightening The detail of the life times of 1659 is great The way the Hangman must do horrible jobs for the whole town yet no one will make eye contact with the man Once as he was walking Jakob came upon a cart stuck in the path he without being asked put his shoulder to it freed the cart No thanks no offer of would you like a ride since we are going the same way? The stigma of being around a Hangman or his family prevents Magdalena from men because they marry within the profession and the boys of the family grow up to take over from their fathersSimon breaks that spends time with Magdalena Jakob with Simon Magdalena's help try to solve the mystery of the missing murdered childrenWell written informative with great character developmentI started telling my husband about the book 7 chapters in he was interested so I started to read a couple of chapters to him Then I just could not wait kept 2 bookmarks in it I have finished now but if he wants to know the rest I will read it to him I have to like a book enough to do that


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