The Hangman's Daughter (Hangman's Daughter Tales)
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Germany, 1660: 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. So begins The Hangman's Daughter--the chillingly detailed, fast-paced historical thriller from German television screenwriter Oliver Pötzsch, a descendant of the Kuisls, a famous Bavarian executioner clan.
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 1659, 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 Stechlin.
Jakob 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 to 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 enemy.
Taking us back in history to a place where autopsies were blasphemous, coffee was an exotic drink, dried toads were the recommended remedy for the plague, and the devil was as real as anything, The Hangman’s Daughter brings to cinematic life the sights, sounds, and smells of seventeenth-century Bavaria, telling the engrossing story of a compassionate hangman who will live on in readers’ imaginations long after they’ve put down the novel.
behind in Landsberg.” He turned away. “Just have your fun with her, and then let’s clear out of here.” Magdalena doubled up, ready for the next blow. “Not yet,” the devil mumbled. “First let’s get the treasure.” “Damn it, Braunschweiger!” Hans Hohenleitner said, holding his bleeding nose. “There is no treasure. Can’t you get that inside your sick head?” The corners of the devil’s mouth started to twitch again, and his head moved in a wide circle, as if he was trying to release some internal
Schreevogl had this oven built during his tenure as burgomaster. In the stovemakers’ guild he had been considered a real artist. Here, one could also see something more––that he had also had a sense of humor. An alderman defecating scrolls? Would Johann Lechner’s father, the court clerk at the time, have recognized himself in the drawing? The physician removed the copper key, fitted the tile back into its place, and returned to the door that separated him from the archives. He inserted the key
daughters. But that, too, had been a while back. Simon was losing ground to the runner in front of him and the snapping of twigs became less audible. From far off to the right he could hear the splintering of wood. That had to be the hangman, bounding like a wild boar over the fallen trees. A few moments later Simon had reached the bottom of a small depression. The slope on the other side rose steeply before him. Somewhere beyond it began the bank of the Lech. Instead of pine trees, low
experienced a warm feeling of satisfaction. He had suspected something, but he had not believed that the Augsburger would cave in so quickly. “Hueber, it doesn’t look good for you,” he continued. “Is there anything to support your case?” The wagon driver thought briefly, then nodded. “Yes, there is something. When we were down by the landing we saw a few men run away, about four or five of them. We thought they were yours. Just a little while later the Stadel was burning.” The court clerk
shook his head sadly, like a father who is immensely disappointed with his son. “Why didn’t you tell us this earlier? It would have saved you a lot of suffering.” “But then you’d have known that we had been there before,” sighed Martin Hueber. “Also, until just now I really did think these men were yours. They looked like town bailiffs.” “Like town bailiffs?” The Augsburg carter was struggling for the right words. “More or less. After all, it was already getting dark, and they were quite a