Witch Way to Murder (Ophelia and Abby Series #1)

Witch Way to Murder (Ophelia and Abby Series #1)

by Shirley Damsgaard

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060793487
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/30/2005
Series: Ophelia and Abby Series , #1
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 341,520
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

Witch Way to Murder

An Ophelia and Abby Mystery
By Shirley Damsgaard

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 Shirley Damsgaard
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060793481

Chapter One

I felt someone watching me as I put the returned books away. My hackles stood up and my skin tingled. I sighed and shook my head. My instincts told me it was Mr. Carroll, one of our oldest patrons, all in a twist and waiting to pounce on me about our latest book selections. He treated the library as his personal domain and me as his personal slave. He was not one of my favorites.

Sighing again and plastering a smile on my face, I turned, only it wasn't Mr. Carroll's bleary bloodshot eyes staring at me. My smile faded as I stared into the warmest pair of brown eyes I'd ever seen. I felt a shock of awareness deep in my gut, even though I'd never seen this man before.

He sure wasn't from Summerset. It was almost as if he'd taken a class, "Small Town 101: What the Natives Wear," in order to try and fit in. His blue jeans were properly faded, his leather bomber jacket had a lived-in look, and his work boots were fashionably scuffed. But he'd failed the class. His clothes may have said "small town," but everything else in his demeanor shouted "city." He had a sheen, a polish about him, that someone from Small Town, USA, lacks.

I realized I was gaping and quickly looked away. When I glanced back, he was smiling. Evidently, befuddling women, even a thirty-something librarian, was nothing new to him.

"Hi, my name is Richard Davis," he said, extending his hand. His voice was rich and husky, with a faint accent like someone from Minnesota or Wisconsin, maybe.

One of the quirks I'd developed over the past four years was an aversion to touching people, especially strangers, so rather than accept his hand, I bent to pick up an imaginary paper clip on the floor. When I stood, his hand was no longer extended.

"The girl at the desk said I needed to talk to Ophelia Jensen. Are you Ophelia?" he asked. When I nodded, his eyes widened in surprise.

"What's wrong?"

He laughed. "I'm sorry. You don't look like a librarian."

"Really? And what exactly is a librarian supposed to look like?"

"You know, older, hair in a bun, reading glasses on a chain, pencil stuck behind the ear." He smiled, eyeing my clothes. "I've never met a librarian wearing blue jeans and a T-shirt that says 'Tact is for people not witty enough to use sarcasm.' Or one with a name like Ophelia."

I looked down at my clothes. He was right. Not my normal librarian look. Mentally, I pulled my tattered dignity around me and stood straighter. "I work alone in my office on Fridays." That wasn't any of his business. Why was I explaining? "But it seems the Dewey decimal system is beyond my assistant's scope of understanding, so someone has to put these books away."

His smile never slipped. "That explains the clothes, but what about your name?"

"Do you always ask this many questions, Mr. Davis?"

He shrugged. "What can I say? I'm a curious kind of a guy. So, how did you get the name?"

"Persistent, too, aren't you?" I said, arching an eyebrow.

"Okay, the truth is my mother is a retired English professor, and she always had a thing for Shakespeare. Hamlet happened to be her favorite. I have always felt very lucky I wasn't a boy."

"A retired professor? From what university?"

"University of Iowa."

"In Iowa City, right? Is that where you grew up?" he asked.

"Yes." I shifted and crossed my arms.

"How did you wind up in a small town like Summerset?" he asked.

Boy, did this guy ask a lot of questions.

"They needed a librarian and I needed a job." My eyes slid over to the clock hanging on the wall above the bookshelves, and then back to Mr. Davis. "Now, what can I do to help you?"

He noticed my clock-watching and smiled. "I'm sorry, I'm keeping you from your work, aren't I? I need a library card and your assistant told me to talk to you."

"I'm sorry, but you're not from around here. We don't give cards to people who don't live in Summerset or the surrounding area."

"I had hoped you would make an exception in my case. I'm a chemical salesman, I'll be here for a couple of weeks, and I'll be bored stiff without some books to read. I promise I'll bring them back." He changed the smile to a lopsided grin. Charm rolled off him in waves.

I may have spent most of my life in a small town, but I'm not stupid. I can spot a load of crap when I see one. He was lying. Where was the hat, the jacket, the pens, all with his company's name plastered on them? Without calling him a liar, I couldn't get out of this situation. I mumbled something about how arrangements could be made.

"Oh," he said, still in the charm mode. "I like to look at old newspapers. You know, read what's happening in the community. It helps me get a feel for my customers. You wouldn't have archives, would you?"

"We have our local paper, the Summerset Courier, on file. The archives are in the basement. We also have access to the Des Moines Register on our computer."

"Wow, you have a computer."

"Yes, we do." I felt offended. I get so tired of "city" people treating us like a bunch of hicks from Mayberry. "We're very progressive. We also have running water and indoor plumbing."

Out came the lopsided grin again. "I sounded condescending, didn't I? I'm sorry."

I found myself smiling back. Whatever this Mr. Davis had, he should bottle it and forget about the traveling salesman routine.


Excerpted from Witch Way to Murder by Shirley Damsgaard Copyright © 2005 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.

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

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Witch Way to Murder (Ophelia and Abby Series #1) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 61 reviews.
krobs More than 1 year ago
This was a pick up from a trade store, and I am glad that I did. The writing is good and plot line is fun and keeps you interested. It is a good book to curl up to and read. If you like fantasy, paranormal genera then you will enjoy this series. You should check out the other series I have suggested,all books listed are the first in each one.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Four years ago in a psychic vision, Ophelia Jensen saw her best friend die she badgered the police until they put out a missing person¿s report. They found his murdered body four days later and since Ophelia was the last person to see him, she became their number one suspect. Between being harassed by the police and a reporter and feeling guilty because she was unable to save him and Ophelia developed PTSD. --- She moved to Summerset, Iowa to be near her grandmother Abby who is a witch and a practitioner of magick. She keeps everyone but Abby at a distance until Rick Davis comes to town. She doesn¿t believe for one minute he is a chemical salesman as he is interested in the county¿s anhydrous ammonia thefts (an ingredient in cooking meth). They stumble over the remains of a murdered man, Rick is beaten up, and she is warned off by threatening letters and a dead coyote left on her doorstep. Ophelia would leave if she could but she comes to believe her grandmother who says it is her and Rick¿s destiny to fight the evil that has pervaded the town. --- Every once in a while a mystery comes along that is so refreshingly original with characters that are totally unique that readers will need to obtain it immediately. WITCH WAY TO MURDER is one such special book. Ophelia goes from thinking of her psi powers as a curse to a desire to learn magick Abby is everyone¿s favorite grandmother. These three dimensional characters burrow their way into the reader¿s heart from the start. It will be hard to wait for the next book in this beguiling series. --- Harriet Klausner
Sandigger More than 1 year ago
This was the first time I had read books by this author and I like it so much I had to get them all. I love this series. The author keeps you on the edge of your seat with all the little twists and turns and she has a new take on witches. Loved it! I can't wait till she writes some more.
kssunflower on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Thanks to seeing this listed on another member Library Thing list of books currently being read, I ordered a copy through my local library, and have been silently thanking that member since.This is the first book of what promises to be a delightful series. Damsgaard has scored in developing two captivating characters in Ophelia and Abby and draws you into their lives gradually until you feel as if you've known them forever. It's impossible not to feel empathy for Ophelia as she works through a deep trauma, but you know that Abby and that perky sidekick will keep her moving on the path to recovery.I am considering ordering all of Damsgarrd books via Amazon because all the library copies seem to be perpetually in motion, and I cannot wait to see what happens next.I love reading series in which the author shows growth in both his or her writing and in the development of each character. Kelley Armstrong is the master of character interaction and growth in these genres, and though Damsgaard's voice is gentler, it is as captivating. I am just starting the second book in this series and I can already feel that potential being fulfilled. I would be greatly surprised if this series disappoints. However, because the seventh book in the series was published at the beginning of 2010, I feel certain there are many fans of this author.I highly recommend this series based on this first book and the beginning of the second. If you like Charlaine Harris, Tate Hallaway, Molly Harper, or Caroyln Haines, I think you will enjoy this first book to hold the same promise of satisfaction as the first books in the series of those authors. It will be fascinating to see to how Damsgaard develops these characters. I like the cozy mystery feel of the first book with just a hint of how the supernatural will fit into the plots. As I am still new to Ophelia and Abby, all I can say is that I hope there will be more than seven volumes. It is nice to share the lives of characters with whom you feel comfortable.
drebbles on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Ophelia Jensen has built a wall around her heart ever since a close friend was murdered four years ago. Considering she has psychic powers, this wall is not easy to maintain, especially since her grandmother, Abby, is a witch who keeps urging Ophelia to embrace her gift. Ophelia has been able to resist Abby so far, but her resolve is threatened by a series of events. Handsome stranger Rick Davis arrives in town, claiming to be a chemical salesman, but asking far too many questions about the rash of fertilizer thefts the town has been experiencing. Ophelia doesn't trust him and does her best to avoid him, but he's persistent, and they are drawn together when Ophelia discovers a dead body. Already plagued by nightmares that may be related to the dead man, Ophelia wants nothing further to do with Rick. But, as Abby keeps reminding her, this is fate and she has no choice. As events unfold Ophelia finds out that her town and the people living there are not what she thought they were. 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. Well done!
butterflybaby on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This was a fun, easy read. The series deems to be promising. The characters show development through out the book. A couple of members of the book club suggested that Damsgaard should rename the series "Ophelia & Darcy Mysteries". The characters ended up being really fun to discuss. The plot was easy to follow and we are excited to read the rest of the series.
theeclecticreview on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Ophelia is an uptight librarian in small town Iowa who keeps to herself and doesn't make any waves. And, did I mention she is a witch? Her grandmother and sidekick, Abby, is also a witch and tells Ophelia that her life is in danger.Enter Rick Davis, mysterious stranger, asking many questions around town. The events that follow are predictable, but the characters are fun and interesting.A fun, enjoyable read.
hoosgracie on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Decent mystery featuring a librarian and her grandmother who have psychic powers. The characters weren't terribly appealing though.
bks4maggie on LibraryThing 8 months ago
First in a fun, quirky series. Enjoyable quick read.
woosang on LibraryThing 10 months ago
A simple to qork out mystery, it was enteraining and great for a train ride to work (Or bus of course) A light and fluffy with fun characters. Not brain food, but brain candy
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Ophelia is a librarian. She lives in the small town her grandmother Abby lives in. Ophelia has the hereditary gifts of her family, some psychic powers. She avoids touching people because she can find things out about them and she's uncomfortable with all that. Her grandmother is happy with her skills, and wants Ophelia to embrace hers. Ophelia still feels guilt for not saving a friend from death.A mysterious stranger turns up in her library asking questions and she's curious about him and his motives. When they both happen on a dead body things start getting more complicated and in order to solve what's happening she has to embrace her gifts.Not a bad read, in fact quite fun. The scenes in the library were quite realistic. A nice cozy mystery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this to be a good book to go to bed with.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love her books. Light, funny and mystery.
Booklover0080 More than 1 year ago
Can't wait to read the second book in this series. Wasn't disappointed.
mollieme More than 1 year ago
This is a good book to start the series with. Interesting concept, and keeps you interested. Hope that the rest of the series is as interesting.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It took a little bit to get into this, but then it grabbed you. Almost quit. Glad I didn't. I ended up really enoying it. I'm going to try another inthis series.
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