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The Poisoned Pilgrim (US Edition) (A Hangman's Daughter Tale) Paperback – July 16, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.

From Library Journal

Magdalena Kuisl and her husband Simon have embarked on a religious pilgrimage to the Bavarian Holy Mountain, leaving their young boys in her parents’ care. This trip goes awry when the duo encounters violence, including a bell tower attack on Magdalena, and three apparent murders. When a monk is wrongfully jailed for the murders, he confides in Magdalena that he’s a former hangman and begs her to get her father, Jakob, to come help. Within days, religious pilgrims will be mobbing the site for the annual Festival of The Three Hosts, unaware that some monks are stripping the monastery of its priceless treasures. Meanwhile, time is running out for the Kuisls in their hunt for the real murderer. VERDICT: Word-of-mouth popularity is richly deserved for Pötzsch’s historical series (after The Beggar King) about a Bavarian hangman and his family, based loosely on the author’s forebears. He creates an intoxicating mix with frenetic pacing, strong doses of adventure and wit, and 17th-century historical detail. The hefty length doesn’t detract from vivid storytelling along the lines of Katherine Neville and William Dietrich. —Reviewed on 07/01/2013.
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Product Details

  • Series: A Hangman's Daughter Tale (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (July 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0544114604
  • ISBN-13: 978-0544114609
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,163 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Oliver Pötzsch, born in 1970, has worked for years as a scriptwriter for Bavarian television. He himself is a descendant of one of Bavaria's leading dynasties of executioners.

He lives in Munich with his family.

Photo © Dominik Parzinger.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 47 people found the following review helpful By MommaMia VINE VOICE on May 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Let me begin by saying that Oliver Potzsch has quickly become one of my very favorite authors. I waited with anticipation for this fourth installment in The Hangman's Daughter series, and as with all previous books in this series, I was not disappointed. I am thrilled to say that The Poisoned Pilgrim was everything I had hoped for from Mr. Potzsch.

This story takes place in the year 1666 at the monastery at Andechs. The monastery is a favorite pilgrimage site, and Jacob Kuisl, the hangman of Schongau, finds himself embroiled in a dark mystery involving an old friend who took refuge as a monk some years previous. This friend finds himself the suspect in a triple murder and he is suspected of being a warlock working with the dark arts. He knows that the only person who has a chance to save him is his old wartime friend, Jacob Kuisl. He puts all his faith and trust in the hangman, and as the story unfolds, it seems his faith is not misplaced. The sharp mind, keen senses and experience as a hangman all come to play to assist our reluctant hero in solving yet another puzzling mystery.

Joining him in the sleuthing are his intrepid daughter, Magdalena and her husband, Simon Fronweiser. Together they search for clues and risk their lives to assist Jacob's friend who, while performing scientific experiments has placed himself under suspicion, due to fear and superstition. I doubt these times were easy, even under the best of circumstances with illnesses decimating whole villages and the rigid beliefs and prejudices making anyone a little out of the ordinary fodder for gossip and as we see in this tale, even at risk for far worse.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By K. Sullivan VINE VOICE on August 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Something is rotten in Bavaria, particularly at the monastery at Andechs, and it's not just the weather. The Schongau hangman's daughter, Magdalena, and her "bathhouse surgeon" husband, Simon, take a pilgrimage to the monastery for a holy festival. Their arrival is heralded by dreadful storms and an unfortunate string of corpses. Simon suspects foul play and it's not long before he calls on his father-in-law, Jakob, for assistance. Their investigation is complicated by the outbreak of a mysterious illness and the general shiftiness of the various monks. As the tide of pilgrims entering Andechs increases, the festival itself is threatened when several holy relics go missing.

"The Poisoned Pilgrim" is the fourth entry in the "Hangman's Daughter" series. It takes place in 1666, approximately seven years after the events of the first installment of the series. Although the reader would naturally benefit from having read the prior novels, this tale can stand alone.

The ominous portents and foreboding are laid on thickly from the outset. More pliable readers or those pining for dark atmosphere may be quickly engaged. Others will likely be alienated by how artificial it all appears. A storm isn't just a storm. A light in a belfry isn't just a light in a belfry. It's like the characters know they're in a murder mystery. Surely no one is always just that suspicious. This sets the stage for a rather poorly executed (ha!) novel.

The writing is frequently clumsy. In some instances, this is likely due to lazy translation. Much of the dialogue is unnatural and awkward. Analogies are mercilessly overdone and the pace is plodding. The characters, a highlight for me from the first novel, were shells of their former selves.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Neaklaus VINE VOICE on June 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"The Poisoned Pilgrim" is the fourth in a series of mystery works by Oliver Potzsch.
As usual his characters stumble upon situations and mysteries and murder. But more than that Oliver honestly and tastefully ages his characters, making them just as human as his readers. What always amazes me is that some of the situations in his story could easily happen right here and now in our time. Proving I guess that there is nothing new under the sun. This book is just as good as the rest of the series and I cannot wait for his next book this fall.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Dave Astle VINE VOICE on May 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Poisoned Pilgrim is the 4th novel by Oliver Poetzsch about the hangman of Shongau and his daughter, Magdalena. I have read the first in the series and now the 4th and was happy to find that it isn't necessary to have read the previous books to be able to follow the 4th. They stand alone perfectly well, though now I know of their existence, I will certainly go back and read books 2 and 3.
The books opens as Magdalena and her husband Simon are on a pilgrimage to give thanks that their 2 young sons survived a serious illness. Simon is a bathhouse surgeon, the meaning of which is not clear to me but he is also referred to as a medicus, which is a doctor. His wife Magdalena, being the daughter of a hangman, is considered an outcast. They arrive at the Andechs Monastery and find that a murder has taken place, followed quickly by more murders. When an ugly monk is accused of the murders and Magdalena learns that he is a friend of her father's, she sends a letter to her father, Jakob Kuisl, who hurries to Andechs to help his old friend clear his name. The hangman and his daughter, son-in-law, and two grandsons get into all sorts of difficulties while trying to figure out what's going on and are themselves the objects of suspicion a few times. To see how it all turns out, you'll have to read it yourself, which I suggest you do because it's a very good book :)
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