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The Play of Death (US Edition) (A Hangman's Daughter Tale Book 6) Kindle Edition
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About the Author
Oliver Pötzsch, born in 1970, has worked for years as a scriptwriter for Bavarian television. He is a descendant of one of Bavaria’s leading dynasties of executioners. Pötzsch lives in Munich with his family.
Lee Chadeayne is a former classical musician and college professor. He was one of the charter members of the American Literary Translators Association and is editor in chief of the ALTA Newsletter.
"The plot is layered and complex, every corner a surprise as danger hides in smoke-filled taverns, lurks along muddy trails and in the forested mountains . . . Another provocative mystery in an uncommon setting." -- Kirkus Reviews
- ASIN : B01MXUSM1D
- Publisher : Amazon Crossing (May 9, 2017)
- Publication date : May 9, 2017
- Language : English
- File size : 3301 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 515 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #16,480 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The book begins with a man 's body being discovered hanging on a cross in the cemetery behind the play's stage.The corpse is that of the man scheduled to play the role of Jesus. Soon another is murdered. It seems as if the play is cursed.
The magistrate goes to investigate and with him goes the town hangman, a burly, forbidden giant of a man, Jakob Kuisl. He has a way of ferreting out evil doers, just the sight of his fearsome tools of torture can caus strong men to shiver. Thos case has conficts beyond anything he had ever before encountered. There are other strange events around the village. Children have disappeared. The forbidding mountain peak thAt overlooks Oberammagau has been making frightening noises. Black-robed, hooded horsemen ride along the roads and hooded dwarves have been glimpsed skulking . Evil portents are everywhere threatening the good, credulous peasants of the town. Oh, and the younger daughter, Barbara, has been flirting and flouncing about, attracting attention of the wrong kind.
That is a very brief synopsis of the plot. And the plot lines are definitely tangled .
The author's primary characters continue to develop as complex individual personalities, and he gives the reader a good deal medieval local color. Those things help the reader along in a book that is a bit. too long. It seems odd that while there is a lot going on in the story, there are times when the reader, or, at least this reader, wished for a bit more forward progress.
There are at least three different threads to knit together, and thus author does the knitting to a satisfactory ending, but not with alacrity. Furthermore, In previous novels, the focus was on Jakob and his daughter Margaret; in this one the center has shifted to his son in law , Simon, the practitioner of what passed for medicine in those dark times. He is not as interesting a character on whic to focus a story , IMHO.
Yet, The Play of Death is a worthwhile medieval mystery for fans of the sub-genre. There is certainly enough treachery, murderous intent, human greed and stupidity to keep the pot boiling, although sometimes slowly.
The novel follows the pattern of the most recent books with a setting outside of Schongau, but this time one plot line returns to that town. We get a little better sense of the passage of time since the two previous stories, and the return of characters from the earliest novels is welcome. In some ways this book continues the pattern of the last two novels with more characters, more complex stories, and an expansion of the setting.
The book is very much like all the novels, with an interesting mystery or three, complex characters, and a wonderful sense of time and place. My only mild criticism is that the author withholds some clues which make solving *all* of the mysteries impossible! An excellent read!
In book 6 of "The Hangman's Daughter" series, the entire Kuisl/Fronwieser family gets in on the act. The titular character, Magdalena Fronwieser (nee Kuisl), has reluctantly agreed to let her husband, Schongau medicus and bathhouse keeper Simon Fronwieser,take their scholarly seven year old son Peter to Oberammergau, site of the famed Passion Play, so that Peter might gain an education from Georg Kaiser, Simon's former schoolmaster. Upon arrival, Simon learns that Dominik Faistenmantel, the actor cast in the role of Christ in the Passion Play has been found crucified in the town cemetery. Dominik's father Konrad, a powerful local merchant and the chairman of the Oberammergau Town Council, engages Simon to serve as coroner and temporary Oberammergau medicus while the crime is investigated.
Meanwhile, back in Schongau, the Hangman's OTHER daughter, 17 year old Barbara, has gotten herself into trouble by refusing the sexual advances of Melchior Ransmayer, the Schongau physician and a respected citizen who considers himself quite the dandy. Ransmayer cannot believe a girl so far beneath him could refuse him. Barbara's father, Schongau hangman Jacob Kuisl, complicates matters by conking the lustful physician a good one on the head with a beer stein. The thwarted Ransmayer promises to use his position in the town to create real trouble for Kuisl and his entire family. The district secretary, a formidable public official named Johann Lechner, offers temporary refuge by commanding Kuisl accompany him to Oberammergau, ostensibly to help investigate the crucifixion. Kuisl, an obstinate man who nonetheless knows his place in the town hieracrchy, complies without argument. But his departure leaves Magdalena, Barbara, and Magdalena's son Paul defenselss against the devious Ransmayer.
If this sounds complicated, this is NOTHING compared to the tangled skein of mysteries, assaults, crimes and accusations and inter-familial feuding that both branches of the family--in Schongau and in Oberammergau--encounter once Kuisl and Lechner arrive at the scene of the crucifixion. It does not help at all that the Oberammergauers view Simon, Kuisl and Lechner with xenophobic hostility. The machinations here are as complex as the ones that Kuisl thought he left behind him, and indeed, they reach all the way to Schongau, ensnaring the remainder of the family.
If there is anything to dislike about this series, it's the unevenness of the translation. Many times, anachronistic language finds its way into the storytelling. It's just flat out jarring when that happens. But the story is worth the deciphering. There is beauty in the way these characters have aged and developed throughout the series. This may be their wildest, most multifaceted adventure yet. It is absolutely worth hanging around (see what I did there?) for the series of resolutions at the end.