The mix of modern crime procedurals and the deep stupidity of superstition just didn’t click for me.
Katherina Kepler is a war widow (or at least she assumes so, since her husband never came back), and one of her sons is Johannes Kepler, authority on the newly discovered revolutionary laws of planetary motion. She herself happens to be an authority on herbal remedies, but not everyone in the village has confidence in her treatments. The random cow has a bad spell, and apparently at some point, a demon took Herr Kepler and his mother to the moon as a lark, as a demon does. Not that Herr Kepler is acknowledging any of this nonsense, since he’s got his hands full at court.
Evidence of Katherina being a witch, however (but of course she is), is written up in numerous transcriptions of witness statements, and this is where the book lost it for me. There are a lot of feuds to deal with here, and of course, a considerable part of the “evidence” is ludicrous, as indicated above. And yet the statements are written up like something out of CSI. It just felt jarring to me.
So Katherina is a cranky old crone, and most of her neighbors seem to hold a grudge against her, and her famous son isn’t of much use. Q.E.D., of course, she’s a witch and needs to be dealt with accordingly. Bah, humbug.