THE TROUBLE WITH WITCHES BY SHIRLEY DAMSGAARD

rating
(Ophelia And Abby, #3)
MYSTERY



When psychic librarian Ophelia Jensen is awakened in the middle of the night by an old friend, Rick, he amusingly asks, "Know where I can find a good witch?" But Ophelia soon learns that her friend needs help with a situation much more serious than his initial teasing suggests. Rick's friend's daughter has disappeared, and it seems that a strange pseudo-religious scientific cult the young woman recently joined may be responsible.

But Rick is having a hard time penetrating the secretive cult, and enlists Ophelia to help, hoping her magick skills and special knowledge will help uncover the mysteries of the suspect group. Ophelia and her kindly witch grandmother Abby jump at the chance to use their powers to help their friend, and travel to Minnesota to pose as vacationers. And with the help of a young psychic and a Native American Shaman they meet along the way, the witches hope to save the young woman before she's lost forever to the clutches of this harmful cult.



They say three time's a charm. As I've said before, this really seems to be the case with most series. This paranormal series follows the same - it's when I fully wanted to continue. In this one Rick, the man missing from the second book, calls Ophelia and her grandmother in to do some investigating out of town, waving goodbye to Henry introduced in book two. The author seems to introduce men only to take them away in the next novel. Strange.

While we leave the familiar town behind, it's interesting in the new mountain and lake setting as the author introduces some changes. Thankfully Darcie tags along; I like her humor and she brings a bubbling enthusiasm the series is missing when she's not around. While Ophelia doesn't humorously stumble over a dead body for once, the author changes it to an investigation of a disappearance instead of a murder. The mystery isn't incredibly strong on who the culprit is, but it works on finding out what the mystery actually IS.

Ophelia is still an average character - nothing special, and she gets annoying with being too paranoid of the local Indian. She also buts her nose into situations and gets rude with some of that intrusiveness. Abby is her usual chin-stroking, knowing self. I never got the appeal of her that other fans of the series have. The biggest mystery of all may be why the two are so attached to the girl-child introduced. I never got instant love and connection with a child just because they are a child.

Damsgaard's writing has improved since the first book but she still falls prey to overdoing mannerisms and spelled out character movements. It's almost like picturing teens trying to act out a high school play where they make it incredibly obvious when they're thinking deeply, wondering something, pausing for a moment, or being imitations of characters.

The Trouble with Witches digs into the darkest subject of magic compared to the others. The subject isn't overly detailed but it shows a hidden element of demons that is dark considering this is a cozy mystery.

Overall this is the best of the three, but I missed Henry. This sequel changes it up some by altering the formula, but in doing so shakes away some of it's working humor. By this point I'm more forgiving of flaws since I've fallen further for the series.


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