This is a Historical Novel based on a family of ancestors of the authors'. The Kuisls were one of Bavaria's leading dynasties of executioners. Potzsch has done research on the history of his family, the practices of executioners during the 1600's and specifically the history in Schongau where his ancestors lived and worked.
This is a good mystery story in itself but also a really fascinating look at life in a small Bavarian town during that time. The ignorance and "witch hysteria" that existed then made my skin crawl. The idea that the patricians of the town would prefer to burn an innocent woman to placate the public rather than investigating the truth was infuriating but not surprising.
So much regarding the social mores of this era makes my blood boil but it is great to be reminded of how many freedoms we truly enjoy.
I highly recommend this book.