Next Author: Rowena Cory Daniells
Previous Author: Brian D'Amato

Shirley Damsgaard

Shirley DamsgaardShirley Damsgaard resides with her family in small-town Iowa, where she has served as Postmaster for the last twenty years and writes urban fantasy in her free time. Here’s Shirley Damsgaard’s website.

Witch Way to Murder: Cute, fun

Witch Way to Murder by Shirley Damsgaard

I like mysteries, and I like fantasy, and so I'm always in the market for a mystery with fantasy elements! Shirley Damsgaard's Witch Way to Murder is a cute, fun addition to this hybrid subgenre. It has a few flaws, but I liked it enough that I plan to read the next Ophelia and Abby novel as soon as I get my hands on it.

Witch Way to Murder is set in the small town of Summerset, Iowa. Damsgaard sets a great scene; The town, the weather, and the people all feel "real."

The protagonist is Ophelia, a librarian with an unwanted psychic gift. She can be standoffish to the point of rudeness, which usually annoys me, but I was able to stick with this character, and I liked her in the end. Maybe it's because the reasons for her standoffishness are painfully clear. I sympathized with her even when she was driving me crazy. Her witchy grandmother, Abby, is a d... Read More

The Trouble With Witches: A lot of fun

The Trouble With Witches by Shirley Damsgaard

After reading Witch Way to Murder, I found myself craving another Ophelia and Abby mystery and went to the library for my "fix." They didn't have book two, Charmed to Death, but they did have book three, The Trouble With Witches. I decided, what the heck, you can usually read these cozy mystery series out of order anyway. Often, authors will only allude vaguely to events of previous books in case you're reading them out of sequence.

Well, I figured out pretty quickly that Shirley Damsgaard doesn't do that. I have now thoroughly spoiled myself for Charmed to Death until enough time passes that I forget the killer's name. But The Trouble With Witches was a lot of... Read More

The Seventh Witch: Enjoyable Ophelia & Abby story

The Seventh Witch by Shirley Damsgaard

In The Seventh Witch (2010), Ophelia and Abby travel to the Appalachians to visit family, and learn that events of decades ago continue to echo through the present. Along the way, Ophelia learns a lot about herself and the future she wants to build.

Unlike previous Ophelia and Abby books, The Seventh Witch is not primarily focused on the “whodunit” aspect. There’s a murder, but the question is not so much who committed the crime but how and why. The question of “how” comes about because there are no obvious signs of foul play, leading Ophelia to wonder whether curses might be more powerful than she realized. Investigating “why” opens up a Pandora’s Box of secrets from the past. Ophelia must discover the truth behind a rift within the family and a feud between her family and another.

Ophelia a... Read More