March Book Club Meeting

Our March book is The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch.


Synopsis


Germany, 1659: 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 in his small Bavarian town. Whispers and dark memories of witch trials and the women burned at stake just seventy years earlier still haunt the streets of Schongau. When more children disappear and an orphan boy is found dead, marked by the same tattoo, the mounting hysteria threatens to erupt into chaos. Before the unrest forces him to torture and execute the very woman who aided in the birth of his children, Jakob must unravel the truth. With the help of his clever daughter, Magdelena, and Simon, the university-educated son of the town's physician, Jakob discovers that a devil is indeed loose in Schongau. But it may be too late to prevent bloodshed. A brilliantly detailed, fast-paced historical thriller, The Hangman's Daughter is the first novel from German television screenwriter Oliver Pötzsch, a descendent of the Kuisls, a famous Bavarian executioner clan.



Since our discussion is held at the Nordstrom Market Cafe, I plan on enjoying dinner during our discussion. Eating or drinking is optional but I certainly plan on enjoying something to eat and drink during our discussion. The Nordstrom Market Cafe is located on the second floor of Norstroms in the Columbia Mall. 


Book Availability at the Howard Count Public Library


If you are an Amazon Prime member and you have a Kindle, you can download this book from free from the Kindle Owner's Lending Library.


The Probable Future is available for checkout at the Howard County Public Library. The Howard County Public Library has:

(4) Copies of the book.

(2) Copies of the book on CD. 


Howard County Library Central Branch

10375 Little Patuxent Pkwy

Columbia, MD 21044

(410)[masked]

Branch Hours

Mon. - Thurs. 10 am - 9 pm

Fri. - Sat. 10 am - 6 pm

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  • Wayne M.

    It was a wonderful discussion. I really appreciate the time and energy that everyone puts into our book discussions.

    March 21

  • sujin s

    Thanks. Nice meeting you as well. I had a wonderful time.

    March 21

    • Nicole H.

      I am glad you enjoyed it. Hopefully we will see you next month.

      March 21

  • Dorothy M.

    Fun group! Nice meeting to newcomers. Lookin forward to the next book and meetup.

    1 · March 21

  • Maxine F.

    I enjoyed the discussion, liked the book, and as always, fun group of people!! Food was good too.

    March 21

  • Maxine F.

    Definitely! Good discussion, and loved the book! As always, great group too, it was fun!

    March 21

  • Pauline P.

    I enjoyed the book and the discussion !

    1 · March 20

  • Terri

    On my way!

    March 20

  • Wayne M.

    I had to post the discussion questions here because my printer stopped working so I am unable to bring a hard copy to our meeting tonight.

    March 20

  • Wayne M.

    13. “If you want to know who is responsible for anything, ask who benefits from it” (p. 127). Did Johann Lechner’s handling of events hinder or help the investigation? Why does he think the Landgrave should be convinced the witch controversy has been contained? Do you think his actions are based solely on greed or for the welfare of Schongau?

    14. Is holding one person responsible, whether guilty or not, justified if it saves a community? Where else have you seen a situation like this?

    March 20

  • Wayne M.

    9. At twelve Jakob Kuisl vows: “Never would he follow in his father’s footsteps; never in his life would he become a hangman” (p. 12). Discuss what you think happens later in life to change his mind.

    10. Jakob Kuisl is described as “An angel with a huge sword. An avenging angel” (p. 163). Discuss why the hangman is both respected and feared? Do you think that regardless of his profession, he is an honorable man?

    11. How do you think the Schongau witch trials differ from the more familiar Salem witch trials?

    12. “Jakob Kuisl, too, knew all about potions and was suspected of sorcery. But he was a man. And he was the executioner” (p. 48). Why are these important distinctions? Both Jakob and Martha are viewed as outsiders in their community, but discuss some of the differences between the executioner and the midwife.

    March 20

  • Wayne M.

    5. Many of the book’s central characters are real historical figures. Does knowing this affect the way you read the novel?

    6. Were you surprised to discover the identity of “Moneybags?” Who had you suspected? Do you think justice was served?

    7. Why do you think Oliver Pötzsch chose the title The Hangman’s Daughter?

    8. Jakob Kuisl’s “holy of holies” is a “small study filled to the ceiling with dusty files and old books about what an executioner is and does” (p. 433). What would your holy of holies contain?

    March 20

  • Wayne M.

    1. Why do the orphans refuse to tell the townspeople what they witnessed? How does this mistrust shape their fate? Do you think they made the right choice?

    2. What do you think of Sophie and her actions?

    3. The man referred to as “the devil” compares himself to Jacob Kuisl: “You’re like myself…Killing, that’s our business…we’re…more alike than you’d think” (p. 379). Explain why you agree or disagree with this. Discuss the similarities and differences between the two.

    4. How does the town of Schongau function as a character in the story?

    March 20

  • Maxine F.

    I love it!! Save me some please!! See you all later.

    March 20

  • Pauline

    ... Wayne, and where exactly, did you find the mandrake roots that you're munching on?

    1 · March 19

    • Wayne M.

      At Roots Market in Clarksville!

      1 · March 20

  • Shelley

    I can't attend tomorrow. I will attend the book club meeting on Saturday.

    March 19

  • Shelley

    I can't attend tomorrow. I will attend the book club meeting on Saturday.

    March 19

  • Shelley

    I can't attend tomorrow. I will attend the book club meeting on Saturday.

    March 19

  • Wayne M.

    I'm munching on some mandrake roots, henbane seeds, and hellebores as I think about this next question. Let's discuss this at our meeting.

    “Jakob Kuisl, too, knew all about potions and was suspected of sorcery. But he was a man. And he was the executioner” (p. 48). Why are these important distinctions? Both Jakob and Martha are viewed as outsiders in their community, but discuss some of the differences between the executioner and the midwife.

    March 19

  • Wayne M.

    I'm getting excited about our upcoming "The Hangman's Daughter" discussion. Here is a question for us to thing about and discuss at our meeting:

    Why do the orphans refuse to tell the townspeople what they witnessed? How does this mistrust shape their fate? Do you think they made the right choice?

    March 18

  • Pauline

    Greetings everyone!
    I completed the reading for this book, The Hangman's Daughter, and enjoyed every page.

    I look forward to a discussion of this book!

    2 · March 16

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