The Last Hangman by Shashi Warrier,hardback by Atlantic Books, £12.99 (ebook £5.87).

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Economist and software specialist turned author Shashi Warrier’s The Last Hangman is set in south India, where he grew up. It is the story of a retired hangman who is visited by a writer interested in producing his biography.

 The writer, he suggests the hangman put pen to paper to describe his life.

 The hangman explains how, in the beginning, he believed he was working for the king of his homeland. The king was believed to be a representative of God on Earth. But after learning that the king was a mere mortal too, the hangman began to question what he did.For years he has pushed his feelings to one side, but now, with his memories coming to the fore, he must confront his past and come to terms with how he has spent his life.

 Through the hangman’s eyes, the book ultimately asks what it means to end a life. Its only flaw is that on occasion details are repeated. Otherwise, it is an interesting, thought-provoking read.

Victoria Burt