Thursday, January 01, 2009

REVIEW: Witch Way to Murder

Title: Witch Way to Murder
Author: Shirley Damsgaard
ISBN: 9780060793487/ Avon, 2005
Protagonist(s): Librarian Ophelia Jensen and her grandmother Abby
Setting: present-day "Summerset", Iowa
Genre: Cozy Mystery, #1 Ophelia & Abby mystery
Rating: C

First Line: Rising panic clenched my stomach.

Abby is a 73-year-old grandmother whose greenhouses are filled with herbs and flowers. She has acres of woods with No Trespassing signs. She also keeps a very low profile in small town Summerset because... she's a witch. Her 30-something granddaughter, Ophelia Jensen, is a librarian, a hermit, and a doesn't-wannabe witch. She has the talent, but she doesn't use it because she thinks it doesn't work. When a rash of thefts in the area and a handsome stranger appears in town, Ophelia is rudely dragged from her comfort zone and forced to make some tough choices.

Damsgaard's plot, pacing and characterization were all just fine. The problem I had with the book was Ophelia. Since she's the main character, that's quite a problem to have. Her unrelieved grieving over the death of her best friend four years ago, her denial of her abilities and their usefulness all annoyed the pudding out of me. I wanted to get a handful of her neck and yell, "Put on your big girl panties and DEAL WITH IT!"

Thankfully by book's end, Ophelia had come to terms with a few things, and the book ended on a good note for me. Witch Way to Murder went from the first book in a series I had no interest in following to the first book in a series that I want to find out what happens next. Good save, Shirley!


  1. Great review. And thanks, I think, for introducing me to a new mystery series.

  2. I am always looking for a new witch book so I'll definitely check this one out.


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