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Witch Way to Murder: An Ophelia and Abby Mystery Mass Market Paperback – Aug 30 2005

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (Aug. 30 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060793481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060793487
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 1.9 x 17.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 118 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #476,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“A Golden Broomstick to the season’s most unusual sleuths, a septuagenarian witch and her psychic granddaughter. Inventive and imaginative.” (Carolyn Hart)

About the Author

Shirley Damsgaard, author of numerous published short stories, resides with her family in small-town Iowa, where she has served as Postmaster for the last twenty years. She is currently working on the next Ophelia and Abby mystery, which again touches delightfully upon the paranormal.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Shirley Damsgaard is a great novelist; with modern, humorous dialogue. I'll just say authors must only tidy a few pages at a time. Just like Rebecca Hale; 'tug' repeats to the point of shouting: "Can't you try 'yank' or 'pull'?!" and there's incessant use of "narrowed their eyes". People don't do that consciously enough for such repeated mention. Oddly Ophelia doesn't say 'Grandma'. Abby has ample wisdom, Grandmotherly affection, and they're close but that isn't a sticking point.

What made no sense is guffawing extra-sensory concepts. Not practising is one thing. Ophelia supposedly disbelieves. A clairvoyant who answers telephones without a ring, capable of psychometry (feeling information from objects); it didn't add up to scoff the rest. It was also hard to swallow someone declining friends and behaving with so much sarcasm. But I understand Shirley wanted to convey the lasting effects of hard times and portray renewal later. I do love every other part of the story.

With the protagonist reticent, there was a long warm up period. Closeness with her wonderful Grandma and pets gave us breaks of humanity. I know connecting with a series début can take time. By the time we like the main character, the plot has also grown tremendously captivating. Emotional involvement is on par with Madelyn Alt's characters and surpasses them, in intricacy and depth. I love that this `magick' is more prevalent and the plots and characters, far bolder. The rest of the novel flies. You really do finish, feeling like you bore witness to an exceptionally well-developed masterpiece. Critiques, minor ~ praise, high!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa381cbac) out of 5 stars 69 reviews
45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa3ae3390) out of 5 stars delightfully different mystery.... Oct. 12 2005
By Laurel Johnson - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ophelia Jensen is a small town librarian, hiding from a painful past in Summerset, Iowa. Ophelia's grandmother, Abby, is a warm hearted, nurturing woman who uses her psychic gifts and the healing arts learned in Appalachia in helpful ways.

Ophelia isolates herself and fights against the psychic powers passed down through the generations in her family. Life has been safe and quiet in Summerville. Unfortunately for Ophelia, it doesn't stay that way. Unknown thieves have been stealing

anhydrous from surrounding farms. Then the local newspaper office is trashed. Finally a handsome stranger shows up at the library masquerading as a chemical salesman. Ophelia dislikes him from first meeting and suspects he isn't what he seems but his attraction to the shy librarian is immediate. Romance is

the last thing on Ophelia's mind. Odd dreams have been disrupting her sleep, and she finds a corpse while walking in the woods. Abby warns Ophelia of a hidden danger, tries to keep her safe, but there's only so much white witchcraft can do for an uncooperative subject. To survive, Ophelia must

acknowledge her psychic gifts and use them.

Abby and Ophelia are appealing characters who use psychic powers to navigate their way through danger. The small town Iowa locale is ideal. If you want a different twist in your mysteries, I recommend you give Damsgaard a try.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa350f948) out of 5 stars Bewitching Mystery Sept. 5 2006
By drebbles - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ophelia Jensen has built a wall around her heart ever since a close friend was murdered four years ago. Considering she has psychic powers, this wall is not easy to maintain, especially since her grandmother, Abby, is a witch who keeps urging Ophelia to embrace her gift. Ophelia has been able to resist Abby so far, but her resolve is threatened by a series of events. Handsome stranger Rick Davis arrives in town, claiming to be a chemical salesman, but asking far too many questions about the rash of fertilizer thefts the town has been experiencing. Ophelia doesn't trust him and does her best to avoid him, but he's persistent, and they are drawn together when Ophelia discovers a dead body. Already plagued by nightmares that may be related to the dead man, Ophelia wants nothing further to do with Rick. But, as Abby keeps reminding her, this is fate and she has no choice. As events unfold Ophelia finds out that her town and the people living there are not what she thought they were.

When I bought "Witch Way to Murder", I thought it would be a light, frothy read, sort of the book equivalent of "Bewitched". Instead, it was a complex and rewarding book. Ophelia is a great character, so intent on not getting hurt again that the walls she's built inside have kept her from really knowing people, like her coworker Darci. Ophelia's past is slowly revealed throughout the course of the book, so readers learn why she is the way she is, just as she herself does. Abby is another good character, content in who she is and not caring what other people think. I found Rick, with his incessant questions to be annoying at first, but he grew on me as a character once his true reason for being in town was revealed. The magick that Abby (and Ophelia to a lesser extent) perform is totally believable, as is Ophelia's struggle to accept her gifts and her past. The mystery itself is a bit darker than in most cozy mysteries, but pretty easy to figure out, since it's obvious from the beginning who the bad guys are. But that's fine, it's the characters that drive this book and make it worth reading.

Well done!
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa34ab078) out of 5 stars Good mystery... Sept. 4 2005
By Detra Fitch - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ophelia Jensen is a witch. She has unwanted psychic powers. It causes more problems than anything else. Ophelia wishes they would go away so she could be a normal person, a normal, boring librarian. However, the powers DO help her and Abby solve mysteries.

Abby is Ophelia's grandmother. Unlike Ophelia, Abby enjoys being a witch. She does not see the results as problems. Abby views them as challenges and she enjoys a good mystery. So when a body is found in Abby's backyard, the two witches do what they do best, meddle.

**** I love this series! The author does not simply give her readers a mystery. She takes them to the edge of reality. Fantastic! ****

Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa34c2240) out of 5 stars A Shakey Beginning to a Great Series July 25 2008
By R. Rigenhagen - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Like many have said this book has some flaws. Ophelia, one of the main characters *is* rather angst ridden, but she has reason to be. Abby, the grandmother is perfect. I'd love to hang out in her kitchen. I'm not understanding the critics who talk about the main male character in this book. Yes, he comes off as creepy, but by the end he is a friend, and not a love interest, and if you continue the series you find he does reappear, but again, only as a friend.

This book is like the first act of a play. Lots of time spent on introducing characters, and laying out their history and relationships. It is NOT my favorite book in the series (and I've read all five within the last three days), but I can see the necessity of how this first book was laid out.

My suggestion is to be sure to buy the first TWO books. Read the first, enjoy the mystery, and get to know the characters, but don't judge the series till you have finished the second book.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa38d0d08) out of 5 stars Annoying beyond all measure! July 16 2007
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I totally agreed with Fearlessreader and the assessment of the main male lead and I also agree, he was a stalker beyond measure and totally annoying, irritating and if it had been me, I would have decked him or called the police as well. I also agree, why even have a romantic lead in books, I feel that a strong female lead can do without having a male to cling to or get romantic with and still have a good story.

I did not like Ophelia at all. I realize she is PTSD but her incessant whining about her past, her stubborn inability to accept things and move on, her inability to even try to work out her problems or try magic to find out that life is good AND bad and deal with it, move on, let it go, stop obsessing, etc. left me frustrated beyond all measure. I was irritated beyond belief at the interplay between her and the lead male. If you can get past that and don't mind the whining, sniveling character of of Ophelia in this first book, the story line is good, when we get to it. Abby is great and very well rounded and adult; more of her and her wonderful personality and adult charm would be great! I was about to let this book be my last in the series but I had bought the second book as well. I thought I would give it one more chance and thankfully I did, because Ophelia comes out much better in the second book. Less stubborn, more pliable and able to get past herself and start to explore her heritage.