Four installments into her paranormal mystery series (after The Trouble with Witches), Damsgaard delivers a scattershot whodunit that's more tedious than tricky. When her friend's cousin is charged with murdering a member of a motorcycle gang, librarian and returning heroine Ophelia Jensen reluctantly agrees to use her psychic gifts to help clear the woman. It's no easy case, however: the suspect, Becca, was found in bed with the dead man, her fingerprints all over the knife that killed him. A reading of the runes persuades Ophelia that the answers lie in the victim's past, and soon she's spinning theories and digging into an old crime that may have involved other gang members. At the same time, Ophelia has more personal concerns to deal with, including her foster daughter, budding medium Tink, and her own long-ignored abilities, which she's hoping to hone with the help of her gifted grandmother, Abby. Although the psychic elements are fresh and well handled, the heroine's habit of leaping to erroneous conclusions and brushing off obvious clues may frustrate mystery fans. (June)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Witch Hunt (Ophelia and Abby Series #4)by Shirley Damsgaard
Small-town librarian Ophelia Jensen is finally starting to embrace her lot as one of the "chosen"—a psychic and folk magick practitioner, a.k.a. a witch. Expert loving guidance from her magickally adept grandmother Abby helps—and adopting Tink, an exceptionally talented teenage medium, has given Ophelia's life new purpose . . . until a brutal murder
- Editorial Reviews
- Product Details
- Related Subjects
- Read an Excerpt
- What People Are Saying
- Meet the author
Small-town librarian Ophelia Jensen is finally starting to embrace her lot as one of the "chosen"—a psychic and folk magick practitioner, a.k.a. a witch. Expert loving guidance from her magickally adept grandmother Abby helps—and adopting Tink, an exceptionally talented teenage medium, has given Ophelia's life new purpose . . . until a brutal murder clouds the sunshine of their days.
Ophelia's co-worker and best friend, Darci, is distraught when her cousin is implicated in the small Iowa town of Summerset's most recent murder—the violent death of a biker. Unfortunately for Darci's cousin, it's her fingerprints all over the murder weapon. She claims she's innocent, but it'll take Ophelia and Abby more than a good incantation or two to get to the bottom of this crime—what with ghosts, crooked cops, secret identities, and a small army of outlaw bikers thrown into this devil's brew.
Read an Excerpt
Witch HuntAn Ophelia and Abby Mystery
By Shirley Damsgaard
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2007 Shirley Damsgaard
All right reserved.
The honeymoon was over. The sweet, quiet thirteen-year-old girl from last August had now, in May, morphed into a drama queen. In the evening, my phone rang constantly with calls from her friend, Nell, whom she'd spent the entire day with at school. One would think they'd talked over everything there, but evidently they still had important issues to discuss. Every weekend there was some event that required her attendance. And if she didn't go, she said she'd die. For a thirty-something librarian who had lived a peaceful life, becoming a foster mother was a change that had left me reeling. I was in over my head.
My beloved grandmother sat at her kitchen table and listened to my tale of woe with a small smile playing at the corner of her mouth. Her green eyes held a distinct twinkle.
"You think this is funny, don't you?" I said, leaning up against the counter in Abby's kitchen.
Her smile widened while she tucked a stray strand of silver hair back into the heavy braid coiled at the top of her head. In her seventies, her face bore the traces of the lovely young woman my grandfather had brought to Iowa all those years ago. And when she smiled, that young woman seemed to peek out.
"Yes, I do. I can recall similar conversations I had with your mother when you were a teenager," she said in a voice stillrich with the tempo of the Appalachian Mountains where she'd spent her girlhood.
I frowned. "Wait a second. I never spent hours on the phone every night after school. And most of my weekends were at the library, not running around some mall."
"That's right." She nodded. "You did spend most weekends studying, but I do recall one weekend at Halloween—"
"Hey, that wasn't my idea. Linda had a crush on the dean's son. She wanted to get his attention."
Abby's laugh rang out. "Well, you succeeded. You not only got the son's attention, but the dean's and the campus police."
I lowered my eyes and traced the toe of my shoe across the wooden floor of Abby's rustic kitchen. The smell of wood smoke from her cook stove mingled with the scent of the dried herbs hanging from the open beams, as I remembered all too well the incident Abby was referring to. My girlfriend, Linda, thought she was madly in love with the dean's son, but he wouldn't give her the time of day, so one Halloween we decided to change all that and decorate every bush and tree in his yard with toilet paper. The pristine white streamers looked lovely waving in the moonlight, or at least we thought so until the campus police rolled up the driveway and busted us. Not a good situation to be in when both your parents are professors and the dean is your mother's boss.
I think I got grounded for a month over that little escapade.
Abby's voice jarred me out of my trip down memory lane. "And then there was the time you and Linda—"
"Okay, okay," I grumbled. "I get it. I put my mother through my share of drama, too."
She walked over to me and placed her hands on my shoulders. "It's going to be all right, Ophelia. Kids don't come with instruction manuals. All you can do is love them."
A frown puckered my forehead. "I do love Tink. She's had a tough life for someone so young. Losing her mother at such a young age, then being forced to live with her psycho aunt for all those years."
A shudder ran through me as I thought of Juliet Finch, Tink's aunt and former guardian. When we'd met the Finches last summer, Juliet had been trying to use Tink's talent as a medium for her own purposes. She tried to keep the kid drugged, and Tink's only ally had been a Native American shaman, Walks Quietly. Juliet's plan backfired and landed her in a state mental hospital in Minnesota. Her husband, Jason, had been more concerned about Juliet than Tink, and I knew we could give Tink the love and support she deserved. Jason willingly signed Tink's custody over to me, and we'd brought her back to Iowa.
Abby picked up on my thoughts—a side effect of having a psychic grandmother. Her hands tightened on my shoulders in a comforting squeeze. "Don't worry about Juliet."
A sigh slipped out and I stepped away from her hand. "But what if she wants Tink back someday?"
Abby crossed her arms over her worn flannel work shirt and gave me a hard stare. "Quit borrowing trouble," she said in a stern voice. "Jason Finch signed legal custody over to you—"
"Yeah," I interrupted, "but Jason adores his wife and will do whatever Juliet wants. If she's ever released and decides she wants Tink back, Jason would move heaven and earth to give her what she wants."
"Nonsense," she said, with a toss of her head. "The Finches can't give Tink a stable home."
"But Juliet is her only living relative," I argued.
She gave my shoulder a little shake. "You worry too much."
Chewing on my bottom lip, I shrugged. "I don't know, Abby, lately I can't shake the feeling something's up."
"Ophelia," she said, her voice full of exasperation, "stop it. We may be psychic, but it doesn't mean we 'see' everything. The future will unfold as it should. And whatever happens, we'll do our best to make sure Tink's best interests are protected."
"What about now? Am I doing what's in Tink's best interests?"
Abby gave me a questioning look. "What do you mean?"
"Am I giving her what she needs?"
"Do you mean her training?"
"Yes." I paced across the kitchen floor. "She's working in your greenhouse after school, and I know you've been coaching her. Is she gaining more control?"
"Hmm," Abby pursed her lips and stared off into space. Nodding once, she looked back at me. "Yes, she is. Tink is a thirteen-year-old girl, so there are all those hormones beginning to bounce around. And she wants desperately to fit in with her new friends." She paused. "But her focus and control is really amazing for someone so young."
Excerpted from Witch Hunt by Shirley Damsgaard Copyright © 2007 by Shirley Damsgaard. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
What People are saying about this
Meet 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.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >