Oct 122017
 


Mining for Justice (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Midnight Ink (October 8, 2017)
Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738753348
E-Book ASIN: B01N7UGNZB

Chloe Ellefson is excited to be learning about Wisconsin’s Cornish immigrants and mining history while on temporary assignment at Pendarvis, a historic site in charming Mineral Point. But when her boyfriend, police officer Roelke McKenna, discovers long-buried human remains in the root cellar of an old Cornish cottage, Chloe reluctantly agrees to mine the historical record for answers.

She soon finds herself in the center of a heated and deadly controversy that threatens to close Pendarvis. While struggling to help the historic site, Chloe must unearth dark secrets, past and present . . . before a killer comes to bury her.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This time Chloe Ellefson takes us along on a trip to Mineral Point as she goes there to help out for a week. Roelke drives her there and plans to spend the weekend helping a friend update a family home. Chloe is hoping for a quiet week away from the drama brought on by her boss at Old World Wisconsin but when Roelke uncovers human bones in the root cellar Chloe knows her week in going to be far from quiet. She agrees to do some research to try to determine who the remains belong to and who buried them. This is all before she sets foot in Pendarvis, the historic location of her temporary assignment. A recent newspaper article has the employees there up in arms and Chloe finds herself the person to blame for a state funding problem. She also find another body.

I have lived in Wisconsin my whole life but I always learn something new when reading a Kathleen Ernst mystery. Pendarvis is one of 12 historic sites owned and operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society. “Tucked away in historic Mineral Point, Pendarvis celebrates the restoration and preservation efforts of Robert Neal and Edgar Hellum, who saved a significant part of Wisconsin’s past.”* Sadly, I have never visited there, but using the author’s descriptions I feel like I have. With all the main buildings, land and nearby cottages it makes a wonderful setting for a murder mystery or two. Roelke back in Eagle has a mystery to solve as well.

The  brilliance of this book is the way the author blends history with life in Wisconsin in the 1980’s. We get the story of a Cornish family coming to America and then to Wisconsin in search of a life provided by the mines. Pendarvis recreates and celebrates this time in history but has problems of the current day which for this series is the 1980’s.

Both time periods have very strong females. The woman in the story that immigrated in the 19th century had  to be strong to live among the men working the mines, she even worked at the mines herself before she came to America. She was a trailblazer is protecting children at a time when most were forced to work in the mines. Chloe is the strong woman of current time. She searches for the truth and doesn’t give up even when she is putting herself in danger. She has a resilience that I truly admire.

Many issues are faced within the story, an abusive husband, drug dealers, financial worries, and of course, murder. It is also a story with a nice romance. Chloe and Roelke relationship has grown at a very comfortable place over this series. Set before cell phones, I really enjoy their nightly calls to check-in with each other when they are apart. The way they work together is heartwarming.

Kathleen Ernst is a real treasure. She researches these stories intensely and creates fictional drama based on facts that keep the reader fascinated from the first page to the last. She is an excellent storyteller whose words come alive. Her love of Wisconsin history shines brightly in this and all of her books in this series.  The characters are believable with great dialogues.  The setting always plays a key part and she always leaves me wanting to visit the location as soon as possible.

Each of the books in this series can be read all on their own, but to enjoy the character development you really should read them all. Mining for Justice has become my favorite book in this series and will be included in my Bests Reads of 2017.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

*Quote from the Pendarvis website.



About The Author

Kathleen Ernst is a social historian, educator, and author. Her Chloe Ellefson mysteries reflect the decade she spent as a curator at a large outdoor museum, and feature historic sites in the Upper Midwest.  Library Journal says, “Ernst keeps getting better with each entry in this fascinating series.” Kathleen has also written many mysteries for young readers.  Honors for her work include a LOVEY Award and Agatha and Edgar nominations.  Kathleen lives and writes in Wisconsin.

Webpage Facebook – Blog 

Purchase Links
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Praise For Mining for Justice (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery)
by Kathleen Ernst

Have no fear as this author weaves a masterful tale. She never drops the ball. Being in Wisconsin I am naturally drawn to the series but anyone who appreciates history and a well written mystery will not want to miss Kathleen’s books.
~Laura’s Interests

This is one of my favorite cozy mystery series. I love that the author mixes history in her mysteries and that you can learn while reading a fun book.
~A. Holland Reads

Wow, this book grabbed my historian heart and held my sleuthing mind to the last page.
~Bibliophile Reviews

Mining for Justice is an outstanding story in an equally outstanding series, one that has quickly become a favorite of mine.
~The Power of Words

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Oct 122016
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640
I anxiously await each book in this series.
I am thrilled to have Kathleen stop here as part of her Great Escapes Book Tour!

MEMORY MUSKETS large banner 640

Kathleen Ernst

Keeping It Real
By Kathleen Ernst

 

I used to work as a curator at a large living history site called Old World Wisconsin. Over fifty historic structures from all over the state have been restored on a sprawling 576-acre site. Many are rare examples of ethnic architecture constructed by some of the early immigrants who settled the state.

After a twelve-year stint at Old World Wisconsin I moved on, but I soon discovered that I missed the site. To me, the obvious answer was to write a book set there. Better yet, why not write a series? I missed the whole historic sites world, actually, and a series would let me visit many special places. Thus the Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites Mysteries were born.

MEMORY OF MUSKETSChloe is a curator at Old World Wisconsin. When I began writing the first book, Old World Murder, some of my writer-friends urged me to consider setting the book at a fictional historic site. My writer-friends often have very good advice, so I did consider it. But honestly, not for long. How could I make up a big historic site when I had a real place fixed so firmly in my brain?

One of my goals for the series was to introduce readers to wonderful historic sites and museums. As the series has progressed, Chloe has traveled to an old lighthouse, all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder homesites, an abandoned flour mill (now the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis) and more—all real places, open to the public.

To my delight, many readers who live within traveling distance of the Upper Midwest have visited one or more of the sites featured in the Chloe mysteries. Some have visited all of them. Nothing makes me happier than hearing from readers who have read one of the books and then gone exploring. I’ve added maps, photos, and other resources to my website to enable armchair or actual travel to the locations featured in the books.

The 7th Chloe Ellefson Mystery, A Memory of Muskets, is largely set back at Old World Wisconsin. I had a great time visiting my own memories of my years at the historic site, and I know I wouldn’t have been able to conjure up a fictional setting in such vivid detail.

If you give the series a try, I hope you enjoy visiting the setting locations vicariously within the pages. Or maybe, if you’re ever in the area, you can explore them first-hand.

~Kathleen

MEMORY OF MUSKETS

A Memory of Muskets (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Midnight Ink (October 8, 2016)
Paperback: 408 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738745152
E-Book ASIN: B01APSYQ1A
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Synopsis

Curator Chloe Ellefson is happily planning to spotlight home-front challenges and German immigrants at Old World Wisconsin’s first Civil War reenactment―but her overbearing boss scorns her ideas and proposes staging a mock battle. And when a reenactor is found dead at one of the historic site’s German farms, Chloe’s boyfriend, cop Roelke McKenna, suspects murder.

The more Roelke learns about reenacting, the more he fears that a killer will join the ranks at Chloe’s special event. Then Chloe discovers a disturbing secret about Roelke’s Civil War-era ancestors. Together they struggle to solve crimes past and present . . . before Chloe loses her job and another reenactor loses his life.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

My first experience at Old World Wisconsin was back in 5th grade for a school field trip and have visited several times since but not lately, at least in person. Through this series I have been able to visit there and some other wonderful places in the Midwest.

Our protagonist, Chloe Ellefson together with Byron Cooke, curator of interpretation, are planning a Civil War program. Thanks to their boss it turns into a Civil War Reenactment. While doing research for the event she discovers some ties to Roelke’s ancestors and the family home she is planning to move into with him. It may explain the disturbing feelings she has about the place. They both get distracted away from their move when a man is found dead at Old World Wisconsin. Dressed as a reenactor, the man has no identification, and this leads the case in several different directions.

Kathleen Ernst always writes a great story with a captivating mystery and the perfect amount of history too. She gives us very detailed descriptions that make the story come alive and easy to visualize. I enjoyed the way she skips back to the past, the 1860’s, and back to present time in this case, is the early 1980’s. As always you can see she has deeply researched the subject matter and I like that I actually learn something while reading every story.

I found Rosina’s story to be very interesting. Her traveling to the New World and making her way to Wisconsin and her life there.

Chloe and Roelke have gotten even closer but they are still building trust as their lives together starts a new chapter.

All the characters are written so well. Chloe’s boss, Petty, not only pushed her buttons but mine. You know the type, my way or the highway, moving deadlines just because he can. and adding things to programs some times just to get her on the defensive. At times you could cut the tension with a knife.

The mystery itself tangled around itself at times and the clues did not always more the investigation forward but took us back to review things that were missed. I was again caught by surprise as we reached the end for that revealing moment when all the clues fell into place.

Ernst is a strong storyteller. At times I could picture all of us gathered around her listening to her tell us Rosina’s story and catching us up with Chloe and all the people in her life. Kind of like the interpreters at Old World Wisconsin. Something she actually used to do. Her love for the place and the history shines bright in every one of her stories.

perfect 2016

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Kathleen Ernst

About The Author –

Kathleen Ernst is a former museum curator who remains passionate about history!  In addition to the Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites series, she has written many books for American Girl, including nine about the historical character she created, Caroline Abbott. Over 1.5 million copies of Kathleen’s 33 titles have been sold. The Chloe series has earned a LOVEY Award for Best Traditional Mystery, and several of her mysteries for young readers have been finalists for Edgar or Agatha awards.

Author Links:

Webpage      Blog     Facebook
Purchase Links:

Amazon – B&N Indie Bound 

GIVEAWAY
Leave a comment below and you’ll be entered to win a signed and personalized print copy of
A Memory of Muskets: A Chloe Ellefson Mystery.
The giveaway ends at midnight October 14, 2016.
Please include your email (ex., janedoe –at – janedoe.com) to facilitate winner notification.
Good luck!

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Oct 072015
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

It my pleasure to welcome Kathleen Ernst back to Escape With Dollycas today! 

The new Chloe Ellefson Mystery, Death on the Prairie, comes out tomorrow! 

Kathleen Ernst

 

Choosing a Setting

When I began conceptualizing the Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites mystery series, I knew I wanted my protagonist to be a collections curator at Old World Wisconsin. OWW is a large living history museum where I once worked, so I had that setting locked in my mind.

I also thought it would be fun to get Chloe out and about at times as the series progressed. I loved the early Anna Pigeon books from Nevada Barr, and eagerly anticipated each as a chance to vicariously experience a new national park. I wanted my series to introduce special historic sites and museums to readers.

DeathOnThePrairieCoverWebThe new Chloe mystery, Death on the Prairie, is the sixth. As the series has grown I’ve been delighted to receive readers’ suggestions for future settings. Equally delightful are invitations from staff at various historic sites and museums.

But choosing a setting for each new book is a complicated thing—especially since it’s not the first element I consider.

The most important factor is where my main characters are, emotionally speaking, at the end of the last book. Chloe usually takes center stage, but police officer Roelke McKenna is also a recurring character. In each book Chloe and Roelke discover things about themselves, and about each other. They grow emotionally. I want their journey to be reflected in the mystery plot, which has to do with setting.

In Death on the Prairie, Chloe embarks on a road trip to visit all of the homesites dedicated to Laura Ingalls Wilder, her favorite author. If you’ve read Laura’s books you know that the struggle to find a home is a strong recurring theme. I’ve wanted to write about the Laura sites for years, but I needed to wait until Chloe and Roelke were at a point where the issue of finding a home had resonance for them.

I also need a site or museum that has enough landscape, if you will, to support a mystery with lots of twists and turns. Old World Wisconsin is spread on 576 acres of land within a state  forest—the largest outdoor museum of rural life in the United States. Over sixty structures have been moved and fully restored, including ten working farms and a crossroads village. All that provides plenty of room for Chloe to get into trouble.

the light keeper's legacy

The other sites Chloe visits are equally rich. The Light Keeper’s Legacy was largely set on an uninhabited island in Lake Michigan. Heritage of Darkness was set at Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, housed in a big historic structure with an outdoor division of old buildings too. Tradition of Deceit was partly set in an abandoned industrial flour mill in Minneapolis, which historians were planning to turn into the Mill City Museum. Now that setting provided ample opportunity for excitement!

As much as I love one-room log cabins—and the people who have preserved them—I need more real estate to support a book. That doesn’t mean I can’t include such a cabin in a story, but it won’t work as a primary setting.

I also avoid historic structures that are, for one reason or another, a source of current conflict within a community. Is a town board divided on whether to keep funding the local museum? Is the debate causing hurt feelings and animosity among neighbors? I might one day fictionalize the kernel of dissent, but I don’t want to wade into a real debate about a real town and historic site.

The series starts in 1982 (when my museum career started), and my general plan is to write four books for each calendar year. The 7th Chloe mystery, which I’m writing now, is set in the summer of 1983. After beginning it I got an intriguing invitation that will likely lead to a mystery, but I think that particular book will also work best if it’s set in the summer. That means I have to wait several years before settling in on that.

Finally, I have to care about a place to choose it for a setting. I will spend a year or more “living” in that space while I explore its history and write the book. Loving the environment and local stories is a definite plus!

And I have to feel confident that readers will enjoy visiting a particular setting as much as I do. I love hearing from readers who visited the setting after reading a particular Chloe Ellefson mystery. Each book has a dedicated page on my website that includes maps and photos and, in some cases, tour guides to make site visits easy and armchair travel vivid.

My files of possible future locations are ever-growing. Do you have a favorite museum or historic site? I’d love to hear about it!

About Kathleen Ernst

Death on the Prairie is the 6th Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites mystery. In addition to the Chloe series, Kathleen has written many books for American Girl, including nine about the historical character she created, Caroline Abbott. She also writes nonfiction, including A Settler’s Year: Pioneer Life Through The Seasons. Over 1.5 million copies of Kathleen’s titles have been sold. The Chloe series has earned a LOVEY Award for Best Traditional Mystery, and several of her mysteries for young readers have been finalists for Edgar or Agatha awards.

Author Links:

www.kathleenernst.com

www.sitesandstories.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/kathleenernst.author

 



DeathOnThePrairieCoverWebDeath on the Prairie
(A Chloe Ellefson Mystery)

Cozy Mystery
6th in the Series
Midnight Ink (October 8, 2015)
Paperback: 360 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738744704
E-Book – ASIN: B015CZD162
goodreads-badge-add-plusShop Indie Bookstores

 

Chloe Ellefson and her sister, Kari, have long dreamed of visiting each historic site dedicated to Laura Ingalls Wilder. When Chloe takes custody of a quilt once owned by the beloved author, the sisters set out on the trip of a lifetime, hoping to prove that Wilder stitched it herself.

But death strikes as the journey begins, and trouble stalks their fellow travelers. Among the “Little House” devotees are academic critics, greedy collectors, and obsessive fans. Kari is distracted by family problems, and unexpected news from Chloe’s boyfriend jeopardizes her own future. As the sisters travel deeper into Wilder territory, Chloe races to discover the truth about a precious artifact—and her own heart—before a killer can strike again.

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

If you are a fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder you know there subsets to the fan base. The group that loves both the books and the television show, those that love the books but not the television show, those that loved the show but probably never read the books. Chloe Ellefson and her sister, Kari are in the book loving group. A friend has just given Chloe a quilt that supposedly made by Little House author to authenticate. The timing is perfect because Chloe has been asked to speak during a tour around the Midwest visiting all the places Laura and her family lived. Chloe invites her sister along and they embark on the journey of there dreams.  Both are so excited as they reach their first destination but one of the traveler has some sort of attack and dies before the event even gets started. Chloe tries to help and she soon realizes this death was no accident. The tour continues but trouble follows them. Soon Chloe is looking for more than provenance for her quilt. She is on the trail of a killer.

I am a  fan of both the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and the television show. I loved the Olesons, especially when the Mr. stood up to the Mrs. 🙂 I am also a fan of Chloe Ellefson Mysteries. It started because they are set in Wisconsin but grew because I love Chloe and all the drama she gets involved in. I also like how real her relational with Roelke is, they take one step forward and sometimes two steps back, but you know they truly love and support each other. This time he is dealing with something back in Wisconsin while she is traveling and since the book is set in 1983 there are no cell phones so communication isn’t easy. Kari is also dealing with something and even in the same room she and Chloe are not communicating.

What makes this story interesting is that that the group is traveling from state to state, so the crimes of murder and vandalism fall into different police jurisdictions so it is hard for law enforcement to bring all the clues together, but Chloe is putting them together and putting herself in danger.

Kathleen Ernst always blends history with fiction in a very entertaining way. The other travelers and those guiding the tours were very detailed and unique. I could picture them easily. The mystery is thoughtfully plotted and I was surprised by the ending.

 I did not realize that all of these historic sites existed. Now I want to take the tour myself, no dead bodies please.

a perfect escape5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

GIVEAWAY

The author is giving 1 copy of this book away!!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Leave a comment for Kathleen for 5 Bonus Entries.

Do you have a favorite museum or historic site? I’d love to hear about it!

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End October 21, 2015 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Nov 192014
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!

I am always excited when Kathleen Ernst drops by for a visit. Her character Chloe Ellefson doesn’t live too far away from me. I love reading stories about places I have actually visited.

Old Mill-50Murder Most Midwestern
Kathleen Ernst

You may have heard of “Midwestern Nice.” It’s real. I’ve met lots of really nice people since moving to Wisconsin in 1982.

That said, I’m finding that the Midwest provides some awesome settings for murder mysteries.

As a former museum curator, one of my goals for the Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites mystery series involves introducing readers to special places. The first four books in the series showcased a huge open air museum called Old World Wisconsin, the Swiss-American community of New Glarus, Lake Michigan’s oldest lighthouse, and Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Iowa.

Old Mill-139And my new book, Tradition of Deceit, features two fascinating settings. The book is set in 1983, when the Minnesota Historical Society’s fabulous Mill City Museum was only a dream. Chloe, my protagonist, visits to help create an interpretive plan for the envisioned site. Imagine an enormous abandoned flour mill full of old equipment—a magnet for kids craving adventure, homeless citizens, and people wanting to stay out of sight. It’s spooky. And it provides lots of opportunities for murder.

Tradition of DeceitIt’s also fascinating. The Washburn A Mill was the world’s largest flour mill when it was completed in 1874. For the first time in history, the production of a basic food item was industrialized. And I’m willing to bet that the mill has touched your life directly. The Washburn A Mill gave us Gold Medal Flour and Betty Crocker cookbooks. After years of growth and mergers, General Mills became owner.

Meanwhile Roelke McKenna, Chloe’s significant other, is drawn into a murder investigation in Milwaukee’s Old South Side neighborhood. The area is densely populated and culturally rich, home to many Polish-American families. They built the magnificent Basilica of St. Josaphat, and created a lovely urban park honoring a famous Polish general. Right down the street is a cemetery so old and significant that it’s on the Register of Historic Places.

It was great fun to write a book that entwines the industrial and cultural heritage of two cities, in two states. In the Chloe Ellefson mysteries, the past is always present!

Someone asked me recently if I would ever set a Chloe book at a “major” historic site like Colonial Williamsburg or Plimoth Plantation. Perhaps one day, but for now, I’m having too much fun exploring historic sites in my own regional neighborhood. Chloe will remain employed at Old World Wisconsin, although some mysteries will take her across state lines.

I try hard to make the sites and museums that Chloe explores real and essential to the plot. My website offers lots of resources to help readers explore the places featured in each book, including photographs, interactive maps, and tour guides. I’m delighted when readers tell me that reading one of the Chloe Ellefson mysteries inspired them to visit the relevant site.

Has a book ever prompted you to make a trip? What are some of your favorite historic places? I’m taking notes!

~Kathleen

About Kathleen Ernst

Tradition of Deceit is Kathleen Ernst’s thirtieth book. In addition to the Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites series, she has written many books for American Girl, including nine about the historical character she created, Caroline Abbott. Over 1.5 million copies of Kathleen’s titles have been sold. The Chloe series has earned a LOVEY Award for Best Traditional Mystery, and several of her mysteries for young readers have been finalists for Edgar or Agatha awards.

. Learn more at www.kathleenernst.com, www.facebook.com/kathleenernst.author, or www.sitesandstories.wordpress.com.

Tradition of DeceitTradition of Deceit
(A Chloe Ellefson Mystery)

5th Book in Series
Cozy Mystery
Published by MIDNIGHT INK (November 8, 2014)
Trade Paperback: 360 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738740782
E-Book File Size: 3170 KB
ASIN: B00NJ2U62I
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Curator and occasional sleuth Chloe Ellefson is off to Minneapolis to help her friend Ariel with a monumental task. Ariel must write a proposal for a controversial and expensive restoration project: convert an abandoned flour mill, currently used as shelter by homeless people, into a museum. When a dead body is found stuffed into a grain chute, Chloe’s attention turns from milling to murder.

Back in Milwaukee, Chloe’s love interest Roelke has been slammed with the news that a fellow officer was shot and killed while on duty. Sifting through clues from both past and present, Chloe and Roelke discover dangerous secrets that put their lives—and their trust in each other—at risk.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Wow, this was such a fascinating read I feel as if I devoured it.

What seems as a ordinary date turns Chloe’s and Roelke’s lives and relationship inside out and upside down. They attend the wedding of one a Roelke’s cop buddies and Chloe just feels like she doesn’t fit in. She takes off the next day to help a friend in Minneapolis questioning her whole relationship with Roelke. Then Roelke gets a phone call telling him his friend and former partner was shot and killed while on duty. He throws himself into the investigation and keeps at it even when he is told to back off. Chloe barely gets into Minneapolis and she gets wrapped up in a murder investigation herself. She really could use Roelke’s help but after the death of his friend he has basically shut her out of his life. It seems “deceit” is everywhere.

Ernst intricately meshes these stories together along with a story from the past that drew me right in. It was not only the murder mysteries that captivated me but the secrets of our main characters as well. We really get to know more about Roelke and Chloe has to face the reality of being in love with a police officer. The story from the past gives us a look back at immigrants that had come to the area in hopes of a better life. The main story lines also look at the homeless and what they endure. She also shines a light on domestic violence.

The main part of the story takes place in the early 1980’s so there are no cell phones or internet which adds its own dynamic to the story. Research and crime investigation is done with old fashioned footwork and checking out books and written documents. Police officers don’t have radios hooked to their collars and need to check in via call stations while they are out “walking their beat” and landlines are the way to get in touch with your family and friends, no texting, emails or quick calls. Cases are not solved quickly as all the investigative technology we now take for granted has even been invented yet. The research Chloe is helping with is also done with document research and stories that have been told and retold over the years.

I think this is the best book so far in this series. The characters continue to grow and evolve and the settings were interesting and the topics are still relevant today as the United States looks at immigration reform and the plight of the homeless is still a major problem today. Domestic violence has been around forever and we see that in that story here as well. Ernst presents all topics in a fictional way that while entertaining to read also makes you think.  We learn a little history along the way too.

This definitely deserves more than 5 stars!

paradise

5 STARFISH5 STARFISH
Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

From Kathleen Ernst

I’m grateful to Dollycas for giving me the opportunity to celebrate publication of Tradition of Deceit: A Chloe Ellefson Mystery here on Escape with Dollycas Into A Good Book. And I’m grateful to readers! Leave a comment for a chance to win any one of my Chloe mysteries: Old World Murder, The Heirloom Murders, The Light Keeper’s Legacy, Heritage of Darkness, or Tradition of Deceit.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End December 3, 2014 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Leave A Comment Below and fill out this form so we can notify you of your win and send you your prize!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Oct 232013
 

cozy wednesday 2013 640
Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
Thrilled to welcome Kathleen Ernst back to Escape With Dollycas today!

DSCF5536

Very Special Seniors

Kathleen Ernst

Heritage 1When I was planning my Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites mystery series, I thought hard about my two main characters.  I wanted Chloe, curator at a large historic site, and Roelke McKenna, police officer in the nearby village of Eagle, WI, to have complex and evolving stories.   I’m having a great time with Chloe and Roelke.

There are other recurring characters in the series, of course.  Those are fun to develop as well.

old world murderAnd then there are those people who appear in one book and disappear again.  I’m four books into the series now, and over the past few years I’ve been surprised but delighted by reader response.  Often characters with very small roles prompt the most feedback.

And often, those characters are seniors.  In Old World Murder, the first book in the series, a elderly woman appeals to Chloe for help.  Chloe reflects upon the request:

She genuinely liked old people.  She liked their stories, their memories, their hard-won experience.  Their mementos, their refuse, even their homes—these things comprised her chosen profession.  Mrs. Lundquist didn’t need to beg, or to cajole; Chloe truly wanted to help her.

cookiesIn the brand new mystery, Heritage of Darkness, Chloe is visiting Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa.  She volunteers to interview local seniors about Norwegian Christmas traditions.  Some of them share Christmas cookies and cozy memories.   Others, however, have tales of some of the more spooky customs that date back to pre-Christian times, when uneducated peasants in rural Norway feared the darkest and coldest days of the year.GoatHead-HeritageOfDarkness-SS448w

Chloe visits a woman in her nineties named Edwina Ree:

“As I’ve heard about old Christmas traditions this week,” Chloe said, “I’ve been intrigued by the transition of some aspects of holiday celebrations from pagan to Christian times.”

Edwina nodded.  “Many a good Norwegian family today considers a thorough housecleaning the first essential step of holiday preparation.  Women say they do this to welcome the infant Christ.  But as children, my grandparents were taught to clean well at Christmas because this period signaled a return of the dead.”

 “A return of the dead?”  Chloe took that in.  “I did not know that.”

“You were raised in a Christian church?”

“Lutheran.”

“Well, it hasn’t been all that many generations ago that church leaders labored to Christianize people’s worldview,” Edwina said.  “Preachers urged Norwegian folk to forget stories that had been passed down for centuries.  Have you heard of mørkemakten?”

“Um…no.”

“It refers to the power of darkness.  Our ancestors believed that evil forces were present during these dark days.” 

This theme provided perfect inspiration for a murder mystery.  And Edwina Ree became one of my own favorite characters.  Edwina was trained as an archivist, and has an academic interest in the topic.  But Chloe also observes Edwina standing alone one night on the porch of her isolated farmhouse, head tipped as if listening for the evil spirits once believed to roam the winter skies.

As a former curator myself, I—like Chloe—particularly enjoy spending time with elders.   I entered the museum world in the early 1980s.  I got to meet elderly men and women who had been born in Wisconsin, but still spoke with an accent because they were raised in tight-knit ethnic enclaves.  They shared recipes and family stories and folk traditions.  Some of my fondest memories involve time spent with those wonderful people.

Creating characters like Edwina Ree lets me pay quiet homage to that generation.  I hope you enjoy meeting some of them within the pages of Heritage of Darkness .

Are there special seniors in your life, or in your memories?  Anyone who shared special stories or traditions with you?  I’d love to hear about it!  Leave a comment, and your name will go into a drawing for any one of my Chloe Ellefson mysteries—winner’s choice.

I’m grateful to Dollycas for allowing me to be a guest on her blog. And I’m grateful to readers! I love my work, and I’d be nowhere without you.

For more information, visit:  http://www.kathleenernst.com/chloe_ellefson.php

About Kathleen Ernst

Bestselling writer Kathleen Ernst is the award-winning author of 25 mystery, historical fiction, and non-fiction books for adults and young readers. Her latest books include “Heritage of Darkness,” the fourth Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites mystery for adults from Midnight Ink, and “Traitor In The Shipyard,” her seventh Caroline Abbott children’s novel from American Girl.

Over the years Kathleen’s work has earned numerous honors, including multiple Edgar and Agatha mystery award nominations, and an Emmy for educational programming. To date, readers have purchased 1,000,000 printed, electronic, and audio copies of her books.

Kathleen is the author of a nonfiction history book about the American Civil War, “Too Afraid to Cry: Maryland Civilians in the Antietam Campaign,” an alternate selection of the History Book Club. It tells the stories of non-combatants who, 150 years ago, found themselves caught up in the bloodiest day in American history.

For ten years Kathleen wrote instructional video scripts for public television; honors for those include an Emmy, Platinum Best of Show Aurora Award, and a Wilbur Schramm Award of Excellence.

Kathleen has a Masters Degree in History Education and Writing from Antioch University, where her self-designed program focused on nontraditional methods of teaching and learning history–with a special emphasis on historical fiction. She spent over a decade as a Curator of Interpretation and Collections with the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Historic Sites Division, which provided great material for her novels.

She lives near Madison, Wisconsin with her husband Scott and Sophie the cat. Some of her greatest pleasures include gardening, learning folk crafts, traveling to research new books, and hearing from readers. To that end, she maintains an extensive website, an author’s page on Facebook, and a blog called Sites and Stories on WordPress.

Heritage 1
Heritage of Darkness
(A Chloe Ellefson Mystery)

4th Book in Series
Cozy Mystery
Midnight Ink (October 8, 2013)
An Imprint of Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
Trade Paperback: 360 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738736983
E-Book File Size: 1165 KB
ASIN: B00EYIAMX4
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Dark Secrets Hidden in Norwegian Traditions

For curator Chloe Ellefson, a family bonding trip to Decorah, Iowa, for rosemaling classes seems like a great idea—until the drive begins. Chloe’s cop friend Roelke takes her mother’s talk of romantic customs good-naturedly, but it inflates Chloe’s emotional distress higher with each passing mile.

After finally reaching Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, Chloe’s resolve to remain positive is squashed when she and Roelke find Petra Lekstrom’s body in one of the antique immigrant trunks. Everyone is shaken by the instructor’s murder, and when Mom volunteers to take over the beginners’ class, Chloe is put in the hot seat of motherly criticism. As she investigates, Chloe uncovers dark family secrets that could be deadly for her Mom . . . and even herself.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I love these excursions with Chloe back in time before the internet and cell phones. Yes, we did survive 🙂

Chloe really does need to rebuild her relationship with her mother and poor Roelke is caught in the middle.Both women are very stubborn and set in their ways. Can a murder bring them together or will it drive them even farther apart? No spoilers here. You will need to read it for yourself.

Beyond Chloe and her mother’s story there is a rich story of Norwegian Heritage woven within the murder mystery. I have learned so much but not in a history book way. Some of the traditions I knew from Wisconsin History classes in high school and college but put into a story such as this where they effect actual people you are getting to know gives it so much perspective. It also helps solve the mystery of the murder. 

Ernst creates such vibrant characters. She takes us back to the 80’s and even back to 1949 and 1967 to help us piece together the clues. You know she has done her research and she does travel to events so that she can bring them to life in these pages for all of us to enjoy. I picked up the first book in these series because it was set here in Wisconsin and it didn’t take more than a few chapters to become a huge fan of Kathleen Ernst. She is an awesome storyteller.

I believe you can read Heritage of Darkness easily as a stand alone, but I know then you are going to want to read the rest of of the series too. Just a little warning, I have found with Kathleen’s books, that once you start them they are extremely hard to put down so plan accordingly.

a perfect escape

5 STARFISH

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

SUPER EASY GIVEAWAY!!
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Are there special seniors in your life, or in your memories? 

Anyone who shared special stories or traditions with you? 

I’d love to hear about it!  Leave a comment, and your name will go into a drawing
for any one of my Chloe Ellefson mysteries—winner’s choice.

Be sure to leave your email address so we can contact you!!

Contest Will End November 6, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Oct 112012
 

I am so excited Kathleen has returned here today. I love the Chloe Ellefson Mystery Series. It is set in Wisconsin and in the The Light Keeper’s Legacy we travel away from Old World Wisconsin to Washington Island and Rock Island State Park in Door County. It is a beautiful vacation spot and I loved my visit there with Chloe. I will let Kathleen tell you more about it.

Hi Kathleen!

Hi Everyone!

The Lure of a Lighthouse

by Kathleen Ernst

What is it about lighthouses? I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve said something along the lines of “Your new Chloe Ellefson book is set at a lighthouse? I love lighthouses!”

I love lighthouses too. I grew up on the east coast, and saw many majestic towers along the Atlantic shore as a child. Since moving to the Upper Midwest thirty years ago, I’ve visited a number of Great Lakes lighthouses.

Five years ago my husband and I applied to be docents at Pottawatomie Lighthouse, which is in Wisconsin’s Rock Island State Park, off the tip of Door County in Lake Michigan. Both of us have experience serving as reenactors and interpreters at historical sites, and to our delight, we were invited to spend a week living in the lighthouse and giving tours to guests. We loved every minute of it.

It didn’t take me long to decide that I needed to get Chloe, protagonist of my Historic Sites mysteries, to Pottawatomie.

In The Light Keeper’s Legacy, Chloe travels to Rock Island as a guest curator, charged with researching and writing a furnishings plan for the lighthouse. She immediately falls under the building’s spell. (Of course, she didn’t plan on finding a body on the beach below…)

Writing The Light Keeper’s Legacy allowed me to delve deeply into the history of Pottawatomie Lighthouse and the women who once lived on the island. And spending time in that world gave rise to my initial question: What is so compelling about lighthouses?

I have several theories. First, many people love being by the water, and the structures are often situated in remote, rugged, scenic spots.

Also, the buildings symbolize maritime history and culture. In addition to keeping the lights burning in often difficult conditions, keepers sometimes rescued stranded travelers or shipwrecked sailors. Perhaps lighthouses encourage us to vicariously experience the challenge of facing the elements on some lonely outpost. How would we have fared?

Finally, I suspect that the lights themselves strike a symbolic chord in the human psyche. The lamps were lifesaving beacons on the darkest of nights. By extension, so were the keepers. Who wouldn’t be attracted by the notion of providing a beam of guidance and hope to some forlorn soul?

As a writer, thinking about this question led me back to Chloe’s week on the island. As her research progresses she learns more about a real woman who once served as assistant keeper at Pottawatomie Lighthouse. Might past events be linked to modern murder? Since the local deputy sheriff investigating the case shows no interest in considering that idea, it’s up to Chloe to shine the needed light on a long chain of dark events—and in so doing, help solve the crime.

So…are you intrigued by lighthouses? If so, why? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

**
I’m grateful to Dollycas for allowing me to be a guest on her blog. And I’m grateful to readers! I love my work, and I’d be nowhere without you.

Leave a comment here, and your name will go into a drawing; the winner may choose any of my Chloe Ellefson mysteries: Old World Murder, The Heirloom Murders, or The Light Keeper’s Legacy.

CONTEST ENDS OCTOBER 25 AT 11:59 P.M. CST

For more information see my website, http://kathleenernst.com, or my blog, http://sitesandstories.wordpress.com .

About This Author
The Light Keeper’s Legacy is Kathleen Ernst’s twenty-fourth published book. In addition to the Chloe Ellefson series, she has written many books for American Girl, including the six-book series about the newest historical character, Caroline Abbott. Several of her mysteries for young readers have been finalists for Edgar or Agatha awards.

Oct 112012
 

The Light Keeper’s Legacy
(A Chloe Ellefson Mystery)

3rd in Series
Cozy Mystery
Midnight Ink (October 8, 2012)
Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.
Paperback: 360 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0738733074

The Light Keeper's Legacy

Museum curator Chloe Ellefson leaps at the opportunity to be a consultant for the historical lighthouse restoration project on Rock Island. She needs a little time to herself and the tranquility of the Door County state park seems perfect. She will be able to sort through her personal and professionals problems while she attacks the assignment given to her by RISC, the Rock Island Support Circle.

The idyllic place loses its luster though when a dead woman washes ashore below the lighthouse. Now in addition  to researching the time periods and the caretakers of the lighthouse she will try to find the answers to the many questions about the dead woman as well. The women in history that  lived on Rock Island were strong and resilient but all had their own set of problems and strife. Could the woman Chloe found have a link to the women of the past? Chloe  has a feeling she does. She just needs to follow the clues and uncover the mystery.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have quickly learned one thing about the mysteries written by Kathleen Ernst. Once you start reading them you just can’t stop. So I have learned to plan accordingly. The afternoon spent reading this story was pure joy.

Kathleen has a way of mixing historic times and places with bold characters to create wonderful mysteries. They are smart, well crafted and captivating. The new characters we meet on Rock Island are full, rich and defined. Ernst takes us from 1982 back to the 1860s seamlessly. We get to know the history of the island and the lighthouse and the changes and effects of the fishing regulations. The people who were there on the island then and how they got there and why some left when others stayed. How the past effects the present and the future. I know these books are thoroughly researched and sometimes the best way to learn history is through fictional stories. That is how it has always been back through time. Storytellers are the historians that teach in ways easy to understand. Kathleen Ernst is a gifted storyteller and educator.

I have said before about Kathleen books and it holds true in The Light Keeper’s Legacy, this is not your ordinary cozy, it is so much more.  Everyone will enjoy this story. I recommend it highly. If you haven’t read the first two installments you can start with this one but I guarantee you will want to read them all.

Dollycas

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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