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The Witch Is Dead (Ophelia and Abby Series #5) by Shirley Damsgaard

Life is busier than ever for witch Ophelia Jensen. In addition to her day job at the library, she—with the help of her grandmother Abby—is preparing to officially adopt Tink, the young medium she's taken under her wing. So when Ophelia's elderly Aunt Dot, eager for adventure, wants to investigate the murder of a funeral director in the neighboring town, Ophelia tries to say no. But then Tink's dog pulls a skull out of the woods—a skull that may belong to a murder victim.

Finding mysterious bones in the woods isn't the only strange thing that's happened to Tink lately. She's been having visions of ghastly ghosts imploring her for help. But before Ophelia can connect the apparitions with the murder, Tink is kidnapped! Ophelia and Abby will have to battle a creepy crematorium owner and an invasion from some modern-day body snatchers to find their protégé . . . or else they'll have to hold a séance just to speak to her again.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061147234
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/28/2007
Series: Ophelia and Abby Series , #5
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 564,472
Product dimensions: 4.18(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

The Witch Is Dead
An Ophelia and Abby Mystery

Chapter One

Tink stood with her nose pressed to the large plate-glass window, then whirled around, her thin face a picture of excitement. "Look," she said. "Do you think that's Aunt Dot's plane?"

From where I sat next to Abby, I searched Tink's face to see any lingering signs of last night's vision. Her eyes seemed clear, not shadowed as they had been. Her smile seemed real, not forced. Relieved, I smiled back. "It should be landing soon." I glanced at my watch, then up at the large monitor showing the arrival times of flights. "It's three-thirty now, and the flight from Raleigh is supposed to arrive at 4:05."

Tink turned away and went back to her vigil. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Abby studying me, her face mirroring the consternation my face had worn when watching Tink.

"What?" I said defensively.

My grandmother lifted an eyebrow. "Are you going to tell me what's going on?" Her voice carried the soft lilt of the mountains in Appalachia where she was born.

Scrunching my eyes shut and rubbing my forehead, I thought about how to answer her.

Do I tell her about Tink's nightmare? I didn't want to upset her. Abby hadn't seen her mother's sister, Dot, since her visit three years ago to her girlhood home. My grandmother had anticipated Aunt Dot's visit to Iowa for months. I didn't want anything to mar it.

Opening my eyes, I slid a look at Abby sitting there, the picture of calm. Her silver hair was done in a neat twist at the back of her head. She wore a floral skirt and ivory shell with a matching scarf. An understated amethystbroach, one that my grandfather had given her many years ago, held the scarf in place on her shoulder. She was elegant and charming.

Unfortunately, it's hard to hide things from your grandmother when she's a psychic witch. Even if you're one yourself.

I blew out a breath. "Okay," I replied reluctantly. "Tink had a dream last night—"

"A dream or a dream?" Abby asked, breaking in.

"A vision. Rotten corpses walking toward her in the woods."

"How awful for Tink." Abby's lips tightened. "What did they want?"

"I don't know. Tink said they definitely wanted something. They were approaching her with their hands outstretched, as if they were pleading, but they never spoke."

Abby tapped her chin. "Hmm, whether we like it or not, evidently some sort of connection with Tink has been made." Her eyes wandered over to where Tink stood at the window. "That girl is a strong medium. Her energy must be a beacon to restless souls."

"Any way we can tamp that energy down?"

Abby shook her head. "No, she and I have tried. She's gaining more control over her talent, but as she grows older, the talent is growing stronger." She paused. "Did you say 'corpses,' not 'corpse'?"

"Yeah. Why?"

"So it's more than one spirit trying to reach her?"

"I guess. Is that important?"

She gave me a knowing look. "Ophelia, as a psychic, by now you should know every little detail can have meaning."

I glanced back at Tink. "It's significant that there was more than one?"

"Yes." Abby's face lightened. "She hasn't been by a cemetery recently, has she?"

"I don't think so. She doesn't like them, you know. She says there are too many voices to overcome. A few always manage to break through her guard."

"Well, another explanation might be a mass death somewhere."

"You mean like a plane crash, or train wreck?"

She nodded again. "Yes. The combined energy of the spirits is breaking through her resistance."

"I haven't heard of any recent tragedies, have you?"

"No, but Tink's vision doesn't have to be about something that happened recently. It could be out of the past."

"How 'past'?" I asked with a frown.

Abby lifted a shoulder in a shrug. "I don't know. Maybe once Aunt Dot arrives, she can shed some light on what's happening to Tink. After all, she's lived all these years with Aunt Mary, and Mary's the most powerful medium that I've ever known."

I shuddered at the mention of Great-Aunt Mary's name. I'd met her as a child when Abby took me to the mountains. Great-Aunt Mary had struck fear in my adolescent heart. Towering over me, she had a way of drilling me with her green eyes that made me want to confess every childhood misdemeanor I'd ever committed.

Abby picked up on my reaction and patted my knee. "Don't worry, dear. Aunt Dot is nothing like Mary."

"I know. She's the exact opposite, if I remember correctly."

She smiled. "Yes, she is. She's still as wide as she is tall. Whenever I think of her, I see her standing in the kitchen, in her cotton dress and orthopedic shoes, with both hands in some bowl, mixing away. And she always smelled like cinnamon."

Abby's memories of Aunt Dot matched mine. I grinned as I let my gaze fall on the book Tink had brought to read. Picking it up, I thumbed through it.

"That kid!" I exclaimed.

"What is it, dear?"

Holding out the book, I showed it to Abby. "Tink marks her place by turning down the corner of the page. I don't know how many times I've told her not to do it."

"Isn't that one of the paperbacks she bought last week at the bookstore in Aiken?" Abby asked.


"So it's her book. She can do what she wants," she said with a lift of her shoulder.

"But it's disrespectful."

She gave me a playful nudge with her elbow. "Quit being such a librarian, Ophelia."

"I suppose," I responded reluctantly, and put the book back on the seat next to me.

To kill time, my eyes traveled around the room, looking at the others who were waiting.

My gaze halted as I noticed someone sitting on the other side of the room who seemed familiar.

The Witch Is Dead
An Ophelia and Abby Mystery
. Copyright © by Shirley Damsgaard. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Witch Is Dead 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Rockport_rocker More than 1 year ago
Tink and Aunt Dot make an unbeatable combination. Love the series. Oh, and Cobra is back!!!
sharno22 More than 1 year ago
The plots just keep getting better with each book. You feel like you know these people. The series improves with each installment.
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Not quite as para-normal as Charlene's vampires but enjoyable in the meanwhile.
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MicheleMoon More than 1 year ago
I do so love this series. It seems each one is better and better. A touch of mystic meets small town charm. A great escape quick read for the lover of witchy tales!
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harstan More than 1 year ago
Tink, a fourteen year old medium, starts to have visions of the dead walking towards her in a wooded area. Psychic and practicing witch Ophelia Jensen, who hopes to adopt her, tries to help Tink understand her powers. Ophelia¿s worries ratchet into high gear when they go to meet Great Aunt Dot at the airport only to see Mr. Buchanan assisting the nonagenarian witch who sees fairies. Tink gets an ¿icky¿ feeling and soon after Mr. Buchanan is murdered in his funeral home office.------------- Tink feels guilty because she failed to warn Mr. Buchanan. Hoping to get the teen¿s mind off of her woes, Ophelia takes Tink camping, which ends up disastrously. Her puppy finds a skull and when Tink sees it she screams that she is being punished for not alerting Mr. Buchanan. Campers hear her lament and the townsfolk believe she knows something about the homicide. When Tink is kidnapped, Ophelia assumes the killer has her Aunt Dot says Tink is alive because the fairies protect her. Ophelia investigates with the help of a sexy DEA agent as they follow the clues, they solve a couple of crimes not involving Tink.---------------- The characters in THE WITCH IS DEAD are endearing because they are fascinatingly eccentric. Aunt Dot steals the show with her obsessive compulsive need to solve a murder, which the nintyish witch sees as a grand adventure while her Dr. Watsons are mythological creatures invisible to everyone else. The plot moves forward at a rapid pace yet is colorfully descriptive so the reader can vividly picture the goings on. This amateur sleuth fantasy is one of the sub-genre¿s best sagas.----------- Harriet Klausner