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Witch Way to Murder: An Ophelia and Abby Mystery Mass Market Paperback – Aug 30 2005
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“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.
Top Customer Reviews
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!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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