I could not get into this book at all. I tried and tried and tried, and by then I was halfway through, so I begrudgingly dragged myself through the rest of it.
Jakob Kuisl is the town hangman in a 17th century Bavarian town. The townspeople welcome him when they need someone tortured or executed, but otherwise, the hangman and his family are completely ostracized. Enter Simon Fronwieser, a young doctor who can’t help himself from fraternizing with the well-read hangman, and with his beautiful daughter. Fronwieser’s reputation is at stake for pursuing both of these relationships, but that’s the least of his worries when town orphans start showing up dead. A witch hunt ensues; the midwife, Martha Stechlin, is an easy target, and the hangman is summoned to torture out a confession. Kuisl and Fronwieser know that the midwife is innocent, and it’s a race against the clock to find the true culprit.
Whodunnits in this vein just don’t do it for me. There are lots of characters, and the mastermind turns out to be someone who was barely mentioned, if he was mentioned at all. There is no way readers could have ever figured this out, which is why I found it so annoying. Not to mention long-winded. This plot may have been more tolerably if it was carried out in less than 450 pages.
Needless to say, I won’t be reading any of the other books in the series.