If you like well researched historical fiction, engaging characters, and well plotted and often challenging mysteries, Oliver Pötzsch has you covered with his The Hangman’s Daughter series. So far, the books, in order are: #1: The Hangman’s Daughter, #2: The Dark Monk, #3: The Beggar King, #4: The Poisoned Pilgrim, #5: The Werewolf of Bamberg, #6: The Play of Death. (I stacked them wrong, sorry.) The 7th book will be out early in ‘018.
The main characters are members of the executioner dynasty of the Kuisl family of Bavaria. The author is a descendant of the Kuisl family, and is a meticulous researcher. The books are set in the mid to late 1660s. They are altogether engaging and interesting, with a host of recurring characters, many of the likable; many of them detestable, all of whom you get to know quite well. Most of these characters are various inhabitants of Schongau. The character of Johann Lechner brings Havelock Vetinari to mind, just a bit, albeit with a more Medieval sensibility, which is not always a good thing.
There are, obviously, distressing events in the books, but for the most part, they are kept on the somewhat low key side. The one exception to this is the prologue in The Hangman’s Daughter, which is both horrifying and very grisly. Mercifully, it’s short. These books are in no way any sort of paean to torture or the like. Altogether, they are grand books, recommended.