Saturday, July 23, 2011

Grieving and 2 mysteries

Yes, I am in mourning.  Borders is officially closing.  What am I to do?  I am afraid that the future will soon be a Kindle, or some such device.  I plan to hold out as long as I can, however.  I want to hold the book I am reading! I will be returning to Barnes and Noble, my old stand-by.  And, luckily for me, I have discovered a wonderful used bookstore, The Book Nook, that I have begun frequenting.  And, of course, there are libraries.  I need to put the closing of Borders in perspective, but oh, how I will miss it!  I really love Borders!  So sad.

But back to book of my book groups chose The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Potzsch for  this month's read.  Apparently it is a popular book club choice, but I had not heard of it.  It is a rather long book (435 pages) and is a historical novel, based loosely on the author's family, which I found quite interesting.

The story takes place in 1659 in Germany.  A young boy is pulled from the river with a crudely made tattoo on his shoulder.  The local hangman, Jacob Kuisl is called in to investigate if the tattoo is related to witchcraft.  The town is frightened even more than usual because the town had gone through witch hunts and d trials seventy years earlier and the town people did not want a repeat of that.  Soon, however, more children are found with the same tattoo, most of them orphans. And some of the children are murdered.

As the local hangman, part of Jacob's job is to torture and execute people.  He is asked to torture the local midwife, who delivered his children, in order to make her confess to being a witch. Once he makes her confess, he will have to execute her and the towns people will then be able to rest easy.  But Jacob does not believe that she is guilty of being a witch or a murderer, and sets out to try to find who is behind the mystery.  His daughter, Magdalena and her friend, Simon, help Jacob determine what has been happening in the town.

This is a good mystery, and as I said, is loosely based on the author's ancestry.  I think what I found most interesting is that it never occurred to me that some one's occupation would be "hangman".  It was not a coveted position!  People feared the hangman.

I chose to read a mystery again and found Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis Lehane.  He had authored Shutter Island, which I read earlier this year and enjoyed, so I thought that I would try another of his books. And I had noticed that they had made a movie of this book, so I decided to read it first!

It is a story about a child gone missing, with the twist that perhaps the child was kidnapped/taken to protect it from it's mother.  I enjoyed the story and have noticed that there is a sequel coming out.

A good, easy read. 

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