The Hangman's Hymn Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Hangman's Hymn

St. Martin's, Dec 2004, 22.95, 224 pp.
ISBN: 0312300905

Pilgrims journey to Canterbury, but are stopped by Luke Tiverton and his men providing the king's justice by hanging violators of the “King's Peace”. One of the pilgrims, the carpenter, faints at the grim sight. Continuing on their pilgrimage, the travelers stop for the night at St. Bardolph's Priory.
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While resting at the priory, the carpenter narrates his tale. Simon Cotterill, the carpenter, follows his beloved to Gloucester where needing work he joins a hangman's crew. In the nearby forest women are vanishing without a trace and a disfigured corpse has been found in the vicinity. Mayor Humphrey assumes that witches are toiling and boiling in the area and quickly has three crones arrested. Trying to keep the panic down and to insure the town continues to flourish, the mayor and his cronies arrange a kangaroo midnight trial to insure a guilty charge. Three days later they are hung in the forest, but the hangmen flee a nasty storm. When they return the witches are gone and they seek revenge. Simon hides while also serendipitously tries to solve who the real killer is.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of The Hangman's Hymn

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues Time/era of story:    -   1600-1899 Kind of investigator    -   amateur citizen investigator Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   small businessman Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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P.C. Dougherty Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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