Title: Witch Way to Murder
Author: Shirley Damsgaard
ISBN: 9780060793487/ Avon, 2005
Protagonist(s): Librarian Ophelia Jensen and her grandmother Abby
Setting: present-day "Summerset", Iowa
Genre: Cozy Mystery, #1 Ophelia & Abby mystery
First Line: Rising panic clenched my stomach.
Abby is a 73-year-old grandmother whose greenhouses are filled with herbs and flowers. She has acres of woods with No Trespassing signs. She also keeps a very low profile in small town Summerset because... she's a witch. Her 30-something granddaughter, Ophelia Jensen, is a librarian, a hermit, and a doesn't-wannabe witch. She has the talent, but she doesn't use it because she thinks it doesn't work. When a rash of thefts in the area and a handsome stranger appears in town, Ophelia is rudely dragged from her comfort zone and forced to make some tough choices.
Damsgaard's plot, pacing and characterization were all just fine. The problem I had with the book was Ophelia. Since she's the main character, that's quite a problem to have. Her unrelieved grieving over the death of her best friend four years ago, her denial of her abilities and their usefulness all annoyed the pudding out of me. I wanted to get a handful of her neck and yell, "Put on your big girl panties and DEAL WITH IT!"
Thankfully by book's end, Ophelia had come to terms with a few things, and the book ended on a good note for me. Witch Way to Murder went from the first book in a series I had no interest in following to the first book in a series that I want to find out what happens next. Good save, Shirley!
I found this book delightful. In fact, it was my first "cozy". I enjoyed the relationship between Ophelia and her grandmother, Abby and how different Abby is from a 'normal' grandmother. It seems that Ophelia doesn't go out and search for bodies or trouble, it seems to find her. I'm anxious to read the next in the series.
This is the first of the Ophelia And Abby Mysteries. The list, in order is:
1. Witch Way to Murder (2005)
2. Charmed to Death (2006)
3. The Trouble with Witches (2006)
4. Witch Hunt (2007)
I really enjoyed this book and I plan to get the rest of the series. From FantasticFiction.com:
Ophelia Jensen wishes she was just your typical, thirty-something librarian. Unfortunately, she's been burdened with psychic powers -- an unwanted "gift" she considers inconvenient at best and at worst downright dangerous. Her kindly old grandmother Abby, however, has no compunctions about the paranormal, being a practicing witch with unique abilities of her own.
And sometimes the otherworldly arts do come in handy -- like when the arrival of a mysterious, good-looking stranger to their normally tranquil corner of Iowa seems to trigger an epidemic of catastrophes, from the theft of bomb-making materials to a murdered corpse dumped in Abby's backyard.
Luckily Ophelia and Abby are on the case and determined to make things right. But it'll take more than magick to get out of the boiling cauldron of lethal trouble they're about to land themselves in.
Lots of fun. My favorite things about it are the lack of bad words and sex. I prefer the romance, mystery, and paranormal characteristics to the down and dirty details. If you're like me, enjoy a good mystery w/o the gory details, great characters, and lost of actions - You'll Love Ophelia and Abby!
Makes's you anxious to read her next book. I couldn't wait to turn pages to find out what happened next!