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The Hangman's Daughter | [Oliver Pötzsch, Lee Chadeayne (translator)]

The Hangman's Daughter

When a dying boy is pulled from the river with a mark crudely tattooed on his shoulder, hangman Jakob Kuisl is called upon to investigate whether witchcraft is at play in his small Bavarian town. When more children disappear and an orphan is found dead with the same mark, the mounting hysteria threatens to erupt. Before the unrest forces him to torture and execute the woman who aided in the birth of his children, Jakob must unravel the truth.
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Publisher's Summary

Germany, 1659: When a dying boy is pulled from the river with a mark crudely tattooed on his shoulder, hangman Jakob Kuisl is called upon to investigate whether witchcraft is at play in his small Bavarian town. Whispers and dark memories of witch trials and the women burned at the stake just 70 years earlier still haunt the streets of Schongau. When more children disappear and an orphan boy is found dead - marked by the same tattoo - the mounting hysteria threatens to erupt into chaos.

Before the unrest forces him to torture and execute the very woman who aided in the birth of his children, Jakob must unravel the truth. With the help of his clever daughter, Magdelena, and Simon, the university-educated son of the town’s physician, Jakob discovers that a devil is indeed loose in Schongau. But it may be too late to prevent bloodshed.

©2011 Oliver Pötzsch, Lee Chadeayne (translation) (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (1884 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Think about this 07-18-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    631
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    "Good book, but not a great book"

    I think 3 stars is the perfect number for this one. It was an interesting tale, with a couple of likeable characters, as in Zeeman, the doctor and Quizel the Hangman. They had a special rapport between them that gives you a chuckle now and then. The Hangman is portrayed as a just man and not a cruel man. All and all the story isn't horrifying, as one might think it will be. It's a murder (several murders) mystery that Quizel and Zeeman set out to solve in order for an innocent woman's life to be spared, and to save the lives of several children. It shows the narrow mindedness of people, as mass hysteria takes over. Then and now, some things never change.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elise Gordillo 06-20-14 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Decent book, horrible narration"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I tried to listen to this book but the narration was so awful I had to stop. I will read the book, but am returning the audiobook portion.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Grover Gardner’s performances?

    No.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Yes.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kitty Reno, NV 05-31-14
    Kitty Reno, NV 05-31-14 Member Since 2015

    I listen to books to be entertained... my favorite genre is a "Legal Thriller" I have actually been a member since 2001. Love my books!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I liked it very much..."

    I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery set in the 1600's in Germany. The author transports you back to a time before all of our modern conveniences and modern ways of thinking. How different things were back then. This is a fascinating series, and I will get them all. Well worth the credit and time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TJDenver 05-15-14
    TJDenver 05-15-14 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Surprisingly good"
    What made the experience of listening to The Hangman's Daughter the most enjoyable?

    I went into this not knowing what to expect. First it was a translation, then it was historical fiction which differs a lot from my usual contemporary reads.

    It was an excellent "whodunit". I just wanted to scream at the ignorance and superstition of the German villagers, but after all, it was roughly the same time as the Salem witch trials, so it wasn't unique to German peasants.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Just enough peril to the good guys, and I had no idea until the end who the mastermind was.


    What does Grover Gardner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Inflection and pronunciations.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rick Kintigh Chicago, IL USA 04-29-14
    Rick Kintigh Chicago, IL USA 04-29-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Hangman's Daughter is an odd book"
    Any additional comments?

    The story has many facets but is far too predictable. This is likely because the author has a very personal connection to this family, time period and location which are ultimately more compelling to him than the plot. The language has very little poetry to it and does not feel like natural speech. This is likely due to a poor translation and not solely the fault of the author. Odd too is the title of this book. The hangman does in fact have a daughter, but she is at best the sixth most important character, and that is probably being generous. If she was removed entirely from the story I don't believe any plot points or pacing would have changed. The young physician would still have been drawn to the hangman in his pursuit of knowledge; the hangman still would have pursued the villain and their agents based on his ethics and history. The only notable difference is that the agent of villain would have had backup at the final confrontation. Even revelations made by the hangman's daughter are independently made by others in their party. The Hangman's Honor would have made for a better title.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sylvia Marion, KS, United States 04-04-14
    Sylvia Marion, KS, United States 04-04-14 Member Since 2008
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    "surprisingly entertaining"
    Any additional comments?

    The novel was not what I expected, but once I started, I was eager to listen each day. That the story was inspired by the author's own family makes this even more interesting. The narrator is also very effective, making the whole experience well worth the time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jay Durham, NC, United States 03-28-14
    Jay Durham, NC, United States 03-28-14 Member Since 2013
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    3
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    Story
    "Enjoyed the beginning, but the end dragged."
    What did you like best about The Hangman's Daughter? What did you like least?

    I really enjoyed the beginning of this book and the potential that it had. However, as the book got further and further along I became less and less interested, and I honestly almost didn't care who did it at the end. I did not think it was a bad book, and I absolutely loved the beginning. But the last act left a lot to be desired.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LeighLeighE Columbus, OH USA 03-10-14
    LeighLeighE Columbus, OH USA 03-10-14 Member Since 2014

    .

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    "Poor Translation, IMO"

    The story is compelling, mysterious & even a bit terrifying. However, I cannot help but feel lost in translation. The character building concerning "the hangman" was great, but not so great concerning the other characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    GHK USA 03-09-14
    GHK USA 03-09-14 Member Since 2005

    gh

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Substandard storytelling and a terrible narrator"

    This is a book that deserves an "A" for effort and a "C" for execution. It is clear that the author has spent a considerable amount of time researching the times, and has spent considerable creative energy imagining the lives of ordinary people who lived in the era. But somehow that has not translated into a compelling narrative. The writing and situations seem somewhat off, and I found it impossible to really get into it. There are books of the genre that I love, like "The Name of the Rose" and others. Anyone who has read these books know that it requires considerable authorial skill to build up the environment in such a way that the reader becomes eased into the story, and the situations of the time start feeling natural. The problem in this case is that the characters behave like they are on stage and being watched by a 21sth century audience. I'm know I'm not being very precise but that is the way it struck me.

    The situation is not helped by the narrator, who sounds like he is narrating a boring basketball game with a lowbrow American accent. Not that I've anything against American accents, it just does not suit the story. He also uses the same pseudo-excited tone for both the story and the characters' voices, which further detracts from the credibility of the overall work. They should have found a trained voice actor who may have done justice to the accents we'd expect from that period.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    elizabeth laurel, ms, United States 03-03-14
    elizabeth laurel, ms, United States 03-03-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Read!"
    Would you listen to The Hangman's Daughter again? Why?

    Yes, most definitely, in fact, I plan to read the entire series! I love a good series with great characters and this one is fantastic.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Hangman's Daughter?

    When the Hangman woke the midwife and told her that she was cleared and could go home. Also when he ran to his daughter on the road after she broke free from her captors. The love of the physician's son even though the Hangman's daughter was shunned by the villagers added romantic moments without turning the story into a soap opera.


    Any additional comments?

    The Hangman is an unexpected hero. Even though he is an executioner, he is portrayed as a very sensitive individual with a sense of justice. The physician's son is a wonderful character as well. The author's note at the end of the story adds a fascinating historical note. This novel was inspired by his ancestors who were executioners. There are stories about knights, kings and peasants but never about the executioner! I highly recommend this book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Rachel
    Ireland
    4/25/12
    Overall
    "The Hangman's Daughter"

    Excellent - don't pass this one up! I wish I could find more historical novels like this. Having grown weary of novels set in Tudor times, I found this little gem while browsing historical crime/thrillers. Set in seventeenth century Bavaria it involves a reluctant executioner, a midwife accused of witchcraft, a young physician and, of course, the hangman's daughter. The plot involves a village with with a less than scrupulous town council and the lengths some would go to in order to cover their greed. The characters were well drawn and the author made me feel I was right there living the story.

    If you like historical novels you will love this book. I do not know if the author has written any other books, but I will definitely be searching. Don't forget to listen to the author's notes at the end. Very revealing!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • JMW
    Cambridgeshire
    7/7/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Spoilt by the narrator"

    This is a good story though a little slow to start. A promising start to the series. I may read the rest of the series rather than have them on audible because the narration is simply appalling. Like listening to a robot with an annoying american drawl

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Arcticangel.
    Seaford, United Kingdom
    1/29/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Rivetting story"

    Unusual story which I struggled to put down. Found the narrator a bit off until I got used to him, after which it was fine. I love books about subjects which are new to me, and this was one of the better ones.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • John Blackmore
    Ely, UK
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "different"

    I wasn't sure I was going to like this at first. Not even sure why I downloaded this. As it turned out once started I found it difficult to stop listening. Perhaps the fact that the story is based upon a real family history made it so believable. Certainly Grover Gardner delivers the performance that I have come to expect - just the right voice for this story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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