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by Shirley Damsgaard
Avon, August 3005
304 pages
ISBN: 0060793481

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Ophelia Jensen would like to be an average person. Unfortunately she is not. She has a secret. Her grandmother Abby is a skilled witch. Abby is not a Wiccan or someone following a New Age path but is skilled in the herbal and white remedies and magic of her ancestors. In addition, Ophelia has her own psychic gifts that she ignores. Years before she was unable to save a friend from being murdered so now she no longer practices.

Ophelia is trying to make her life as a small-town librarian, but fate is conspiring against her. An enigmatic man arrives in town asking a lot of questions. Rick Davis claims to be a chemical salesman but asks a lot of questions about the community and recent crimes. In addition, he is asking questions about Ophelia and her grandmother. The community is unaware of Abby's gifts so all questions are unwelcome.

As though this were not aggravating enough, Abby knows that Rick and Ophelia will somehow find themselves in grave danger but she does not have enough information to protect them. All of the questions that Rick asks are stirring up some unknown form of evil. Several local thefts and a murder point to the danger involved. Only by working together will Ophelia and Rick be able to protect the innocent victims in the community.

WITCH WAY TO MURDER, a first mystery by Shirley Damsgaard, presents a different slant on the paranormal mystery. Frequently paranormal mysteries are cutesy or almost pornographic. Very few authors manage to combine paranormal activates with a mystery convincingly. While WITCH WAY TO MURDER is cozier than some reader might prefer, but the use of the paranormal is plausible and enhances the plot rather than distract from it.

Ophelia is an interesting protagonist. She has made some decisions in the past that she hates. She has a lot of guilt and hostility about the things outside of her control such as the actions of others. Ophelia wants to help others but most of all she wants to stay out of the limelight. She does not want to allow anyone to get close to her in case they hurt her or she hurts them. As the story slowly unwinds, Ophelia begins to see that she has to allow people into her life in order to be alive. Her personal growth gives the book more depth and makes her struggle more realistic.

Reviewed by Sarah Dudley, October 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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