Witch Way to Murder by Shirley Damsgaard

(Ophelia and Abby, #1)

Bewitched meets Murder She Wrote in this delightful new cozy mystery series featuring Ophelia Jensen, small town librarian and reluctant psychic, and her grandmother Abby, a benevolent witch.

Thirty something Ophelia Jensen wants to live a quiet life as a small town librarian. She's created a comfortable existence with her kooky, colorful grandmother Abby, and if it were up to her, they could live out their days--along with Ophelia's dog Lady and cat Queenie--in peace and quiet. But, to Ophelia's dismay, she and Abby aren't a typical grandmother/granddaughter duo. She possesses psychic powers, and Abby is a kindly witch. And while Ophelia would do anything to dismiss her gift--harboring terrible guilt after her best friend was killed and she was unable to stop it--threatening events keep popping up, forcing her to tap into her powers of intuition. To make matters worse, a strange--yet devastatingly attractive--man is hanging around Ophelia's library, and no matter how many times she tells him she's sworn off men forever, he persists. Soon this handsome newcomer reveals he's following a lead on a local drug ring, and then a dead body shows up right in Abby's backyard. And much as Ophelia would like to put away her spells forever, she and Abby must use their special powers to keep themselves, and others, out of harm's way.

I read this years ago and remember greatly enjoying it, but as time continues, my memory does it work and I forget. Rereading this one because I've been meaning to recapture the fun of it, and also to add another witch book to the Witch and Magic Challenge I'm doing this year, figured it'd be perfect.

My memory didn't fail me on how enjoyable it was - the plot is simple, making it a light and fun read, but it's not boring or cheesy. The main character, Ophelia, works as a librarian in a small town. She has a huge chip on her shoulder, mainly due to horrible events which took place four  years ago. Her grandmother, Abby, is the town witch (although no one knows this!), and Ophelia tries as hard as possible to avoid magic and trouble while keeping her anonymity intact. This of course fails as murder hits the town, a nosy reporter who's too interested in her keeps stopping by the library, and fate takes its rightful place.

It's a pure mystery, but it doesn't end up being too deep or complex since the author really only introduces a small number of characters to suspect. The magic is pretty cool, it's unique and subdued. While there are psychic talents, they're not the typical ones. Ophelias is more dream orientated and she's frustrated on figuring out what they mean.

Her dreams about the ballerina are awesome and haunting. I can almost hear the creepy, sad music playing as the girl keeps whirling around and practicing. The authors ability to write well really drove this home, almost like watching a film. Loved it.

Sometimes Ophelias chip-on-the-shoulder was too heavy for me to carry, but she still makes a likeable enough heroine. I also love when heroines in mysteries are librarians, how cool.  Who can resist Rick and Darci either? Rick is "hot" in the book but I don't feel attraction or excitement about their relationship, other than hoping just because he's sweet and interesting.

Darci is funny as a sidekick and not the typical one - she cracks me up with her enthusiasm. There were several laugh out loud moments, especially the bedroom closet scene. I suppose we're supposed to really dig the grandmother Abby, but honestly she faded a bit in the background to me.

Wasn't sure if the very ending was the best one, but it wasn't a killer for the enjoyment, but makes you want to read the follow-up. These pages ooze with charm and will appeal to mystery fans everywhere. Hopefully sometime, someday, I'll get the rest of the series and continue the magic.

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