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By Shirley Damsgaard

Avon, August 30, 2005 (Paperback)
ISBN: 0060793481

Reviewed by Karen Meek

WITCH WAY TO MURDER introduces Ophelia Jensen and her grandmother Abby. Ophelia is a psychic who was unable to prevent the murder of her best friend Brian four years ago. His death sent her into a mental decline and after spending time in hospital she returned to her grandmother’s home of Summerset, Iowa, to become the town’s librarian. Abby is also a psychic as well as a healer and a master of folk ‘magick’. Ophelia has shunned her own abilities since Brian’s death and lives quietly with her cat and dog.

Ophelia’s world begins to become more exciting with the arrival of Rick Davis a supposed chemical salesman who is particularly interested in the recent thefts of the fertiliser anhydrous ammonia - a compound that can be used to make methamphetamines. He is taken with Ophelia almost to the point of following her around, much to her disgust. Rick’s arrival coincides with a fire, another chemical theft and Ophelia’s discovery of a dead body. In addition Ophelia is having dreams that show the manslaughter of a young woman who Ophelia hasn’t seen before and to cap it all, Abby predicts that together, Rick and Ophelia will overcome a great evil and that time is running out.

I very much enjoyed this debut novel. Ophelia reminded me of Charlaine Harris’ Aurora Teagarden, both are prickly librarians in a small town. Ophelia can be quite sharp, especially with her assistant Darci but she appreciates her colleague’s skills by the end of the book. The story kept me engrossed as it set up Ophelia’s history, the small town and the mystery and I admire how the relationship between Rick and Ophelia isn’t as straightforward as it could easily have been. It’s Ophelia’s awakening to her gift and to the outside world that is as interesting as the mystery of what is happening in this small town in Iowa.

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