The Dark Monk: A Hangman’s Daughter Tale

tzsch, trans. from the German by Lee Chadeayne. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Mariner, $18 trade paper (512p) ISBN 978-0-547-80768-3
The brutality and ignorance of 17th-century Bavaria serves as the backdrop for Pötzsch’s thrilling second whodunit featuring an unlikely trio of sleuths (after 2011’s The Hangman’s Daughter). When the parish priest, Andreas Koppmeyer, eats some poisoned doughnuts after sealing up a mysterious something in his church basement, he manages to scratch a mark on the frost covering a gravestone as he expires. Figuring out what that dying clue means and who doctored the pastries falls to Altenstadt hangman Jakob Kuisl; his daughter, Magdalena, an apprentice midwife; and her suitor, Simon Fronwieser, a doctor’s son. Fronwieser links a Latin phrase seen in a crypt with the Templars, raising the possibility that Koppmeyer stumbled on a secret relating to that shadowy society. Meanwhile, the depredations of a gang of robbers threaten local commerce. Fans of Michael Gregorio’s early 19th-century Prussian series (Unholy Awakening, etc.) will find a lot to enjoy. Agent: Pia Gotz, Ullstein Verlag. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/23/2012
Release date: 06/01/2012
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