Witch Hunt (Ophelia and Abby Series #4)

Witch Hunt (Ophelia and Abby Series #4)

by Shirley Damsgaard

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Small-town librarian Ophelia Jensen is finally starting to embrace her lot as one of the "chosen"—a psychic and folk magick practitioner, a.k.a. a witch. Expert loving guidance from her magickally adept grandmother Abby helps—and adopting Tink, an exceptionally talented teenage medium, has given Ophelia's life new purpose . . . until a brutal murder clouds the sunshine of their days.

Ophelia's co-worker and best friend, Darci, is distraught when her cousin is implicated in the small Iowa town of Summerset's most recent murder—the violent death of a biker. Unfortunately for Darci's cousin, it's her fingerprints all over the murder weapon. She claims she's innocent, but it'll take Ophelia and Abby more than a good incantation or two to get to the bottom of this crime—what with ghosts, crooked cops, secret identities, and a small army of outlaw bikers thrown into this devil's brew.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061758560
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/13/2009
Series: Ophelia and Abby Series , #4
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 145,846
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Shirley Damsgaard, author of numerous published short stories, resides with her family in small-town Iowa, where she has served as Postmaster for the last twenty years. She is currently working on the next Ophelia and Abby mystery, which again touches delightfully upon the paranormal.

Read an Excerpt

Witch Hunt
An Ophelia and Abby Mystery

Chapter One

The honeymoon was over. The sweet, quiet thirteen-year-old girl from last August had now, in May, morphed into a drama queen. In the evening, my phone rang constantly with calls from her friend, Nell, whom she'd spent the entire day with at school. One would think they'd talked over everything there, but evidently they still had important issues to discuss. Every weekend there was some event that required her attendance. And if she didn't go, she said she'd die. For a thirty-something librarian who had lived a peaceful life, becoming a foster mother was a change that had left me reeling. I was in over my head.

My beloved grandmother sat at her kitchen table and listened to my tale of woe with a small smile playing at the corner of her mouth. Her green eyes held a distinct twinkle.

"You think this is funny, don't you?" I said, leaning up against the counter in Abby's kitchen.

Her smile widened while she tucked a stray strand of silver hair back into the heavy braid coiled at the top of her head. In her seventies, her face bore the traces of the lovely young woman my grandfather had brought to Iowa all those years ago. And when she smiled, that young woman seemed to peek out.

"Yes, I do. I can recall similar conversations I had with your mother when you were a teenager," she said in a voice still rich with the tempo of the Appalachian Mountains where she'd spent her girlhood.

I frowned. "Wait a second. I never spent hours on the phone every night after school. And most of my weekends were at the library, not running around some mall."

"That'sright." She nodded. "You did spend most weekends studying, but I do recall one weekend at Halloween—"

"Hey, that wasn't my idea. Linda had a crush on the dean's son. She wanted to get his attention."

Abby's laugh rang out. "Well, you succeeded. You not only got the son's attention, but the dean's and the campus police."

I lowered my eyes and traced the toe of my shoe across the wooden floor of Abby's rustic kitchen. The smell of wood smoke from her cook stove mingled with the scent of the dried herbs hanging from the open beams, as I remembered all too well the incident Abby was referring to. My girlfriend, Linda, thought she was madly in love with the dean's son, but he wouldn't give her the time of day, so one Halloween we decided to change all that and decorate every bush and tree in his yard with toilet paper. The pristine white streamers looked lovely waving in the moonlight, or at least we thought so until the campus police rolled up the driveway and busted us. Not a good situation to be in when both your parents are professors and the dean is your mother's boss.

I think I got grounded for a month over that little escapade.

Abby's voice jarred me out of my trip down memory lane. "And then there was the time you and Linda—"

"Okay, okay," I grumbled. "I get it. I put my mother through my share of drama, too."

She walked over to me and placed her hands on my shoulders. "It's going to be all right, Ophelia. Kids don't come with instruction manuals. All you can do is love them."

A frown puckered my forehead. "I do love Tink. She's had a tough life for someone so young. Losing her mother at such a young age, then being forced to live with her psycho aunt for all those years."

A shudder ran through me as I thought of Juliet Finch, Tink's aunt and former guardian. When we'd met the Finches last summer, Juliet had been trying to use Tink's talent as a medium for her own purposes. She tried to keep the kid drugged, and Tink's only ally had been a Native American shaman, Walks Quietly. Juliet's plan backfired and landed her in a state mental hospital in Minnesota. Her husband, Jason, had been more concerned about Juliet than Tink, and I knew we could give Tink the love and support she deserved. Jason willingly signed Tink's custody over to me, and we'd brought her back to Iowa.

Abby picked up on my thoughts—a side effect of having a psychic grandmother. Her hands tightened on my shoulders in a comforting squeeze. "Don't worry about Juliet."

A sigh slipped out and I stepped away from her hand. "But what if she wants Tink back someday?"

Abby crossed her arms over her worn flannel work shirt and gave me a hard stare. "Quit borrowing trouble," she said in a stern voice. "Jason Finch signed legal custody over to you—"

"Yeah," I interrupted, "but Jason adores his wife and will do whatever Juliet wants. If she's ever released and decides she wants Tink back, Jason would move heaven and earth to give her what she wants."

"Nonsense," she said, with a toss of her head. "The Finches can't give Tink a stable home."

"But Juliet is her only living relative," I argued.

She gave my shoulder a little shake. "You worry too much."

Chewing on my bottom lip, I shrugged. "I don't know, Abby, lately I can't shake the feeling something's up."

"Ophelia," she said, her voice full of exasperation, "stop it. We may be psychic, but it doesn't mean we 'see' everything. The future will unfold as it should. And whatever happens, we'll do our best to make sure Tink's best interests are protected."

"What about now? Am I doing what's in Tink's best interests?"

Abby gave me a questioning look. "What do you mean?"

"Am I giving her what she needs?"

"Do you mean her training?"

"Yes." I paced across the kitchen floor. "She's working in your greenhouse after school, and I know you've been coaching her. Is she gaining more control?"

"Hmm," Abby pursed her lips and stared off into space. Nodding once, she looked back at me. "Yes, she is. Tink is a thirteen-year-old girl, so there are all those hormones beginning to bounce around. And she wants desperately to fit in with her new friends." She paused. "But her focus and control is really amazing for someone so young."

Witch Hunt
An Ophelia and Abby Mystery
. Copyright © by Shirley Damsgaard. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are Saying About This

Jo Dereske

“Shirley Damsgaard has created a sassy, savvy librarian who just happens to be a reluctant witch haunted by her past.

Mary Alice Gorman

“Shirley Damsgaard brings us a wonderful second paranormal mystery...beguiling.”

Pat Frovarp

“Ophelia and Abby have Charmed me To Death. I love this series.”

Carolyn Hart

“A Golden Broomstick to the season’s most unusual sleuths, a septuagenarian witch and her psychic granddaughter. Inventive and imaginative.”

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Witch Hunt (Ophelia and Abby Series #4) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
wyvernfriend on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ophelia Jensen juggles her job as librarian and her life-path of witch. Ophelia has adopted Tink a gifted teenage medium, and then a co-worker's cousin is implicated in a murder of a biker. The bikers are an outlaw gang determined to get their own way, Ophelia is determined to sort things out.It's a fun series, nothing deep, and the bikers are a little over-cliched but still entertaining.
reannon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fourth in the Ophelia and Abby series by Shirly Damsgaard. The series is about a Ophelia Jenson and her grandmother Abby, both from a long line of traditional Appalachian witches, though Ophelia and Abby now live in Iowa. Ophelia is a librarian and resisted her psychic powers most of her life. Now she uses them, learning how from Abby.In this episode in the series, bikers have come to town, and one of them is murdered. Ophelia's friend Darci, has a visiting cousin who is accused of the murder.I've liked all of the series so far. The characters are good, and the plots, if you accept the psychic powers, are believable. Recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love these books, they make my day. Super good plots and everything. I think rated 10 and up.
Rockport_rocker More than 1 year ago
Delightful series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sharno22 More than 1 year ago
This series gets stronger with every book! Love all of the characters and the plots really keep you going. Looking forward to the next adventure.
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LoveToReadCC More than 1 year ago
Each of these books is good by itself, but it's enjoyable to read them all and pick up the connecting threads. Olivia is someone most of us can identify with, extra senses or not. I like the way Ms. Damsgaard handles secondary characters.
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harstan More than 1 year ago
It is a small quiet town where murder rarely happens, but at least twice Ophelia Jensen has been in the middle of homicide investigations. This isn¿t as crazy as it sounds because she is a psychic and both times her power led her to the killer. She lives with her foster daughter Tink, a thirteen years old medium and she is very close to her grandmother Abby the witch. After years of denial Ophelia admits she has powers and she lets her grandmother teach her folklore magick.---------------- The serenity of the town is disturbed when El Serpiente, a bad motorcycle gang noted for extortion, running drugs, and murder, come to town. Her best friend Dori and Ophelia as well as Dori¿s cousin Beatrice go to the bar where the gang hangs out and Beatrice disappears with one of the gang leaders. When Dori and Ophelia go to Dori¿s place, they find Beatrice with a knife in her hands and blood on her. Adder is dead and the police arrest Beatrice but Ophelia is sure she is not guilty. She quietly investigates and gets help if one can call it that, from Adder¿s spirit. -------------------------- Each mystery that Shirley Damsgaard writes is better than the last. Her characters grow as they deal with what life hands them. Ophelia finally accepts she is a psychic who can do magic and her grandmother eases up on the pressure. Ophelia no longer denies that Abby was a practicing witch. Both grandmother and granddaughter have a beautiful relationship based on equality. The mystery in WITCH HUNT is well plotted and the villains hide in plain sight.---------------- Harriet Klausner