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The Witch is Dead: Ophelia & Abby Mysteries    by Shirley Damsgaard order for
Witch is Dead
by Shirley Damsgaard
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Shirley Damsgaard returns with the fifth captivating chapter of her character rich series starring psychic librarian Ophelia Jensen and her wisewoman grandmother Abbie. Their elderly Appalachian relative Aunt Dot has bustled into Sommerset for an extended visit with the girls and is quivering with excitement at the possibility of assisting Ophelia and Abbie with their next adventure. Great Aunt Dot might be stuck in a secluded cabin with her elder sister much of the time, but the news that Ophelia has a knack for finding dead bodies and solving murders has reached her loud and clear. A wisewoman herself, Dot is certain her special ability to commune with fairies will add panache to what she hopes will soon grow into a crime-solving trio!

Unfortunately, Dot's hopes at playing detective are quickly dashed by both Ophelia and Abbie, who inform her that they've sworn off murders for good. The fact that they've been warned off by the increasingly suspicious local sheriff only strengthens their resolve to mind their own business. Abbie is quite happy tending her greenhouse and her flourishing romance with a local pub owner and Ophelia wants to get on with the process of adopting Tink. But when her young ward, a talented medium in her own right, is repeatedly visited by unhappy ghosts and then gets bad vibrations from a mortuary owner who later turns up dead, it's a sure sign that trouble is once again brewing.

Ophelia continues endearing herself to readers as she not only struggles to get motherhood right, but also must put up with best friend Darci's machinations to get her back into the dating pool. Her dotty aunt Dot nearly steals the show as she continuously butts in looking for villains inside every err - fairy ring. Damsgaard also continues doing a masterful job showing the small town atmosphere of Sommerset and its various characters, from the much put upon local lawman who can't understand Ophelia's luck at finding dead bodies to the town busybodies who love nothing more than sinking their teeth into the latest juicy bit of scandal and then spreading it through town like a raging wildfire. The Witch is Dead is another well-written, involving and charming installment in a series that keeps getting better and better.

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