Charmed to Death (Ophelia and Abby Series #2)

Charmed to Death (Ophelia and Abby Series #2)

by Shirley Damsgaard

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Ophelia Jensen's good witch granny Abigail revels in her paranormal powers. But Ophelia never asked for her bothersome psychic abilities -- especially since they proved worthless when the thirty-something librarian's best friend Brian was murdered by a still-unknown assailant.

Now, five years later, another friend is gone, killed in almost identical fashion. Even dear old Abby isn't safe, distracted as she is by her fight to prevent a massive, mega-polluting pig-farming operation from invading their small Iowa town. And Ophelia can't count on her snarling, scoffing nemesis, police detective Henry Comacho, to get the job done, so she'll have to take matters into her own hands. Because a common thread to the crimes -- and a possible next victim -- is suddenly becoming troublingly apparent . . . and it's Ophelia Jensen herself!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060793531
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/28/2006
Series: Ophelia and Abby Series , #2
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.76(d)

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.

Read an Excerpt

Charmed to Death

An Ophelia and Abby Mystery
By Shirley Damsgaard

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Shirley Damsgaard
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060793538

Chapter One

The voices drifted through the open window at the library.

"Everyone needs to disperse right now. I'm sorry, but you can't block traffic."

"What traffic, Brett? I don't see no cars comin'."

I recognized the deep baritone voice of Stumpy Murdock, proud owner of Stumpy's Bar and Billiards.

"C'mon, Stumpy, you know I can't let you have a sit-in smack in the middle of the four-way stop. Take the demonstration someplace else."

"We're exercisin' the right to peaceful assembly."

"Yeah." Several voices cried out -- one of them, the voice of my sweet grandmother.

Crap. Abby was with them. I needed to get out there before poor Brett was forced to arrest all those subversive characters.

When I rounded the corner of the library, I saw the sit-in. Several of the town's senior citizens had planted themselves in the center of the four-way. How Edna Walters ever managed to make it to a sitting position in the middle of the intersection, I'll never know. But there she was, dressed in her pink nylon jogging suit and orthopedic shoes, holding a sign that said DOWN WITH FACTORY FARMS. The sun glinted on her blue-tinted hair, while her walker stood like a silent companion by her side.

Oh Lord.

"Hey, Brett. How's it going?" I called out.

Brett turned. Two blotches, one on each cheekbone and as red as fresh strawberries, stood out on his young face. Poor guy. Brand-new police officer dressed in his blue uniform, with its sharp creases, and wearing his shiny new badge being hassled by people old enough to be his grandparents. I bet the Academy never taught him how to deal with little old ladies. Definitely in over his head.

"Ophelia, maybe you can talk some sense into these folks. If they don't move, I'm going to have to arrest them for being a public nuisance."

"Oh, you wouldn't want to do that, Brett," I said and tugged on my jacket.

"That's right, young man. If you do, I'll never bring cookies to the station again," Mrs. Walters said, shaking her finger at Brett.

"Mrs. Walters, please. Get up. I'll help you." Brett reached down and offered his hand, but Mrs. Walters swatted it away, her pink jacket crackling.

"No." Her double chin trembled with indignation. "I'm staying until Ned gets here to take our picture."

The blotches on Brett's face spread. If Ned didn't hurry, the only picture he'd get would be Brett tucking Mrs. Walters, walker and all, into the back of his patrol car. I walked over to where Abby sat next to Stumpy.

She had evidently worked in her greenhouse before organizing her seditious demonstration. She still wore her work clothes -- denim jeans, a flannel work shirt, and clogs.

I took a quick look at Stumpy. Was he her coconspirator in this? He looked back at me through his thick glasses. The lenses magnified his eyes and he reminded me of a befuddled owl sitting there. But Stumpy wasn't befuddled. He was a sharp businessman and didn't tolerate any Saturday-night drunks causing trouble. If they tried, they'd find themselves staring at the business end of Stumpy's Louisville Slugger while he escorted them out the door. Shaking my head to clear the image of Stumpy as an owl, I bent down toward Abby and lowered my voice.

"You have to do something. Brett is losing his patience."

Abby stared at me, her green eyes flashing. "Edna is right. We need Ned," she said, her voice still carrying the cadence of the mountains in Appalachia where she was raised. "He's the editor and the main reporter for The Courier. He might give us the publicity we need. Who knows, The Des Moines Register could even pick up the story Ned writes? It's too good a chance to miss."

"Do you want to go to jail for trespassing and unlawful assembly?" I asked through clenched teeth.

"Maybe," she said, cocking her head to one side. "It would make a good story."

"Abby -- "

A sudden cheer stopped me. Ned Thomas had appeared down the street. He walked confidently down the wide sidewalk of the business section, past the limestone buildings that had held local entrepreneurs since the turn of the century. His camera swung from the strap around his neck and a notebook stuck out of his shirt pocket.

Relieved, I watched while Ned approached the group. He stopped at the corner and started shooting pictures. The happy group waved their signs at him in response. I stepped back to get out of the shot. Didn't need my picture on the front page of The Courier.

I walked over to where Brett stood, watching Ned.

"Gosh, I'm glad he finally showed up. Last thing I wanted to do was arrest all of them," Brett said.

Feeling his distress float around him, I patted his shoulder. "Don't worry. Everyone knows you're trying to do your job."

"Yeah, but I never thought it would include arresting senior citizens." Brett shook his head. "This hog confinement thing, it's not good. People are sure steamed up about it."

I tugged at my lip. "I know. It was bad enough eight years ago when they built the farrowing site across the county line. But now they're trying to expand into this county. No one wants a facility housing eight thousand hogs built next to their place. Abby says the amount of manure they'll produce will be monumental."

Brett nodded. "We were thinking about buying a house here in Summerset, what with the new job and all, but now I don't know. My wife doesn't care for the idea of living close to a place like that. Even if it is ten miles from town, she's afraid we'll be able to smell the stink."

The waste from eight thousand hogs and a humid summer's day in Iowa was not a good combination. The stench would drift for miles on the hot breezes. And Abby's farm was only two miles from the proposed site.


Excerpted from Charmed to Death by Shirley Damsgaard Copyright © 2006 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

Jo Dereske

“Shirley Damsgaard has created a sassy, savvy librarian who just happens to be a reluctant witch haunted by her past.

Mary Alice Gorman

“Shirley Damsgaard brings us a wonderful second paranormal mystery...beguiling.”

Pat Frovarp

“Ophelia and Abby have Charmed me To Death. I love this series.”

Carolyn Hart

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

Customer Reviews

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Charmed to Death (Ophelia and Abby Series #2) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Sandigger More than 1 year ago
This was even better than the first. The more I read, the better I like this author!
sharno22 More than 1 year ago
You don't have to be a paranormal mystery lover to enjoy this series. Abby and Ophelia are such great characters that you really want to spend time with them. I still can't believe I'm just finding this series now! Well, it's probably better for me that I have several books ahead of me to catch up on instead of waiting for the next installment to come out.
Pattie_pj More than 1 year ago
I just purchased the next inthis series because I like it somuch
harstan More than 1 year ago
Librarian Ophelia Jensen and her Grandma Abby reside in Summerset, Iowa. They look like ordinary women but they are witches with Abby training her granddaughter to learn what her gifts are and to use them wisely. They are also psychic with Ophelia having precognitive skills and the ability to find things. Six months ago using her powers she found a murderer and his cohorts. This action enabled her to come out of her shell, the one she retreated into when her friend Brian was murdered, and left in a dumpster. --- Ophelia still feels guilty over Brian¿s murder because she saw his murder in a vision and was too late to prevent his death from happening. At one time Detective Henry Comache considered her a suspect because he believed, rightfully so, she was hiding things from him. Now Abby has a feeling that it is time for Ophelia to find closure over Brian¿s death which means finding his killer. When Henry comes to Summerset, Ophelia is once again under suspicion when she finds, through her psychic senses, the body of a dead man whom she had a very public fight with. Evil has come to Summerset Ophelia must find it and bring it out of the darkness before it kills her. --- This is a very special mystery in an enchanting series as Ophelia and Abby perform magic in the traditional Bell, Book and Candle methodology. The heroine has gained strength from her brush with death and is finally willing to learn how to use her powers. She also overcomes her hermit like existence to make friends with some of the townsfolk and there is even a hint of romance in the air. Although readers might guess early on who the killer is it won¿t detract from the enjoyment of this charming who-done-it and why. --- Harriet Klausner
dd196406 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A good, cozy book with elements of the paranormal. An enjoyable read. I always like a book with a librarian main character!
bks4maggie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable quick read.
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Quite a readable story of a witch and Librarian who is learning to come to terms with her abilities. I don't hold out much for her abilities as a librarian but her powers as a witch are quite good. Some interesting use of runes in this book make it quite a reasonable read. However I guessed the villain quite early on from some of the clues which weren't very subtle. I'd look forward to getting my hands on more of the same and reading them, only if I happen on them. The portrayal of witches was interesting and well done and the psychic visions well drawn.
Ereshk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I typically enjoy mystery and fantasy novels dealing with psychics and witches, however this one had me grinding my teeth half way through. It seems like the author took every pagan belief system, tossed them into the blender, and out came Ophelia and Abby's thing. Even that I would have forgiven, but I just couldn't get over how Ophelia just can't believe in her own powers after having them demostrated over and over through two books.
JamesJohnCudneyIV More than 1 year ago
4 stars to Shirley Damsgaard's Charmed to Death, the second book in the Abby and Ophelia series, for brewing up an even better story and turning on the ways of the witch. While a fun and good example of a cozy and has a lot of potential as a popular new series, it needs another book to fully round out the setting and the characters before I can push it to a 5. Story Ophelia has a dream which her grandmother Abby interprets as a need to solve her best friend's murder from five years ago which was the ultimate driver for Ophelia's move back home to her small Iowa town from the Iowa big city. Ophelia begins to accept that she and her grandmother are witches and partially embraces her powers to discover who killed Brian. At the same time, Abby is leading a group of townsfolk to stop a big company from changing the landscape of their town and potentially causing disastrous results. Ophelia develops relationships with a few new male characters testing the waters to see who might be a good love interest, but Abby warns that one is dark and one is good. Which one will the witch pick? And what happens when the suspected serial killer who murdered Brian seems to be lurking in Ophelia's hometown? All the stories come colliding together revealing more bubbling beneath the cauldron's surface than actually appeared. Strengths 1. The story was quite clever. It had some complexity but also some simplicity which made it spot on for a cozy mystery read. You know from the beginning that one of the new characters is too good to be true, but you can't quite figure out what's going on until the big reveal. 2. Ophelia's softer side comes out in this book. She's not as harsh as she was in book 1, especially seeing her worry over her grandmother who has an accident and when she turns to her mother (who makes an appearance!) for comfort. Weaknesses 1. One of the sub-plots had no conclusion: what happens with the big company coming in to takeover some of the farmland and turn it into a hog breeding facility? After Abby's accident, her cause seems to have dissipated along with Harley and Edna. I'm hoping this is picked up in book 3 but it was definitely left too open for readers just starting a new series. 2. When one of the charactes falls victim to an accident/killer, no one mourns his death and it really isn't discussed a whole lot. There is no funeral, no town gossip, no sadness, etc. In order to build the appeal of the town and the people, I think it's important to incorporate these side stories and themes into the overall series in order to build a large readership. Unfortunately, this example felt mechanical and not emotional. Final Thoughts The series really took off in this book from the debut. Characters are developing personalities and rivalries. Families are being integrated with Ophelia's return home. The town is being flushed out. It has a lot of potential. And if you have any interest in witch history, it's connecting the story back to the Salem Witch Trials which helps ground it in history. I'll definitely move on to book 3 to see if this series flies off the handle!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So far I have enjoyed these books. Great to cozy up to.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love my stories that are funny, romantic and a little bit of mystery. Just enough to make a great potion.
mollieme More than 1 year ago
Another book in the series, and it's as good as the first. Can't wait to read more books in this series.
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Rockport_rocker More than 1 year ago
A little slow on the build up but more than worth the wait. I have enjoyed watching Ophelia's growth as a person and as a witch. This story takes her to a new level. Cobra is back! One of the better tales of suspense in this series although I have enjoyed all of them.
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