This is the fourth book in the "Hangman's Daughter" series, and it lives up to the quality of its predecessors. In this one, there is a pilgrimage to a monastery for the Feast of the Three Hosts, and the hangman's daughter and her husband go along with others from their town. It's supposed to be a peaceful religious experience, but unfortunately several deaths occur, and they appear to be murders. In addition, the Three Hosts disappear, and there is talk of witches, demons and devils. Of course, our heroine and her husband find themselves right in the middle of everything, as usual.
There are suspicious people all around, and no less than several of the monks appear to have something to hide. A scapegoat for the crimes is found, and he is to be tortured until he admits everything, even if he had nothing to do with anything.
The hangman himself gets involved, and there is mischief and mayhem aplenty around the holy buildings. It's a taut tale, with a lot of side incidents and storylines, but they all come together in a thrilling and nerve-wracking climax. It's a wonderful summer read, and I can highly recommend it.
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About the reviewer
Frank J. Konopka (frankiethek)
I'm a small town general practice attorney in the hard coal region of Pennsylvania. Books are my passion, andI read as many of them asI can. Being the President of the local library board for over … more
Set in Bavaria in 1666, Pötzsch’s stellar fourth Hangman’s Daughter mystery (after The Beggar King) features three unlikely sleuths: hangman Jakob Kuisl; his daughter, Magdalena; and Magdalena’s husband, Simon Fronweiser, a “bathhouse medicus” in the town of Schongau. Magdalena and Simon, the parents of two boys, leave the children with Magdalena’s parents in order to undertake a pilgrimage to the monastery at Andechs—a trip that turns out to be anything but spiritual. When Coelestin—a novitiate who stumbled onto a horrific heresy—drowns, his death is deemed accidental, until Simon notices marks of violence on the corpse. More deaths follow, and the arrest of Brother Johannes, an old friend of Kuisl, prompts the executioner to leave his ailing wife to come to Johannes’s aid. The author maintains tension throughout as the trio seeks to unravel the intricate scheme behind the killings, which are connected to a lifelike human automaton. -- Reviewed on 05/27/2013.