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The Trouble With Witches: An Ophelia & Abby Mystery    by Shirley Damsgaard order for
Trouble With Witches
by Shirley Damsgaard
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2006 (2006)

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* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Psychic Ophelia Jensen is whisked into another paranormal adventure when she receives a late night call from Minneapolis reporter Rick Delaney (first introduced in Witch Way to Murder). His teasing salutation of 'know where I can find a good witch?' immediately arouses Ophelia's suspicions; the last time she got involved with the easy-going charmer, she helped him foil hometown criminals and was shot for her trouble. Even so, Ophelia agrees to help Rick locate a family friend's missing daughter, who's supposedly gotten herself involved with what most people perceive as a shady cult. Within days, Ophelia and her wise woman grandmother Abby are on their way to Gunhammer Lake, Minnesota where they investigate leads Rick has provided.

Posing as tourists, Ophelia and Abby make a point of insinuating themselves with the locals, more specifically a group connected with the Psychic Study Institute. Husband and wife founders Jason and Juliet Finch maintain they're only interested in furthering psychic study. However, Ophelia and Abby's magick tells them otherwise, as do the revelations of the couple's teenage ward Tink, who both women sense is being subtly manipulated by the Finches. Also trying to thwart Ophelia's search is Walks Quietly, a Native American Shaman who's very protective of Tink, but a man with little patience for others who invade his private domain. He warns Ophelia off repeatedly, but when she stumbles across a dead body, wild spirits couldn't drag her away. In short order, she and her grandmother discover that something dark and sinister is at work in the wild Minnesota woods, and both are determined to do everything in their power to find Rick's missing friend before it's too late.

This third in Damsgaard's Ophelia and Abby Mysteries is just as charming and involving as the previous installments. Librarian and reluctant psychic Ophelia continues taking center stage with her strong first person voice and a personality that's becoming more confident in herself and her magical abilities. Keeping her grounded is her wise woman grandmother Abby, who does her best to guide her granddaughter into fully embracing her hereditary gift. Damsgaard keeps things interesting by offering up a nice supply of quirky characters, including Walks Quietly, whose shadowy background and own magical powers add depth and reader interest and who I hope will make return appearances in future installments. The Trouble With Witches is another well-written, nicely paced and enjoyable addition to a series that continues to grow and evolve.

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