This book is a follow up to The Hangman's Daughter. Both are set in the Bavarian Alps where the son of the town's doctor, Simon, and a hangman, Jakob, team up to investigate local murders. Both are good books; although I slightly preferred The Hangman's Daughter. You don't have to read these in order, but it may help you understand the characters and some references in the second book.
In this book Simon and Jakob investigate the death of a priest through riddles which leads to the revelation of the involvement of the Knights Templar. It does a nice job of combining history with mystery although at times it felt like a stretch to me... but that might be because I never would have figured out the riddles. I'm just not that smart.
I enjoy these types of books, but after reading two in a series I am still confused on the character development of Simon and his fancy clothes (and his career motivation). Perhaps it will come together in the next book, or perhaps I need a better understanding of people during that time, but it is the one thing that just didn't seem to fit in quite right in this book. If you can look past that, it was a good story that has some actual historical context in the author's life (Jakob Kuisl, the hangman, is an ancestor of his).
Extra bonus: the author takes you on a walking tour of the places featured in the book.
Books read since the beginning of 2012: 22