Cozy Wednesday Special Addition with Author Kathleen Ernst (Giveaway too!)

Welcome to the special edition of Cozy Wednesday on Thursday. This is an extra special day for me. Kathleen Ernst is a Wisconsin Author and her Chloe Ellefson Mystery Series is set at the historic site of Old World Wisconsin and the surrounding area. All four of our kids had school field trips to Old World Wisconsin and my husband and I took turns being chaperones. We love that place and can’t wait until our grandson is just a little older so we can take him there too.

Please help me Welcome Kathleen Ernst to Escape With Dollycas!!!

Hi Kathleen!!

Hi Everyone! I am happy to be here! I am glad Dollycas and I connected so I could take a moment to tell you about…

Murder, Past and Present
by Kathleen Ernst

Novelist William Faulkner once said, “The past is not dead. In fact, it’s not even past.” If Faulkner hadn’t said that, Chloe Ellefson—the protagonist of my Historic Sites mysteries—might have.

Chloe is a curator at large historic site called Old World Wisconsin. She is not an amateur sleuth in the traditional sense. She isn’t nosey or particularly observant. She takes no pleasure in being involved with crimes. If it were up to her, all detection would be left to local cop Roelke McKenna.

Alas, events conspire against her. In Old World Murder, Chloe’s first day on the job comes to a troubling end when an elderly donor comes looking for a family antique that she’d donated to Old World Wisconsin years earlier. Moments later, the woman dies in a car crash. When Chloe realizes that the antique in question is missing, she tries to find it. As curator, it’s her job; she also wants to honor the donor’s memory. Chloe begins to suspect that someone else is after the artifact, but authorities initially take no interest. What’s a curator to do?

In my new release, The Heirloom Murders, Chloe is dragged into the middle of a complicated set of crimes. Roelke McKenna takes the investigative lead, and tries hard to keep Chloe uninvolved in police matters. Just one problem with that plan—the motivation for murder is rooted in historical events. In the end, Chloe’s knowledge helps Roelke understand the situation he’s confronting.

Readers often ask writers where they get their ideas. For me, it’s pretty simple: I used to work as a curator at Old World Wisconsin, and I’ve always been fascinated by the past. While traveling or doing research I look for a spark—some compelling bit of information or lore that makes me want to plunge into a new novel. I like to find stories that haven’t been widely told. I love shining my tiny bit of lantern light on those events in fictional form.

And I love devising ways to illustrate how history can tangle lives in the here-and-now. After all, aren’t all communities and families the sum of everything that has gone on before? We’re all shaped by past events.

I think William Faulkner had it right. How about you? Have you considered how long-gone events affect your life today?

I’m grateful to Dollycas for allowing me to celebrate publication of The Heirloom Murders (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery) by guest-posting here. And I’m grateful to readers! I love my work, and I’d be nowhere without you.

Fill out the form at the bottom of this page and your name will go into a drawing for a free book. The winner can choose any of my seventeen titles. The Heirloom Murders, one of my American Girl mysteries, a Civil War novel—the choice will be yours! To learn more, please visit my website,


**Book blurb, The Heirloom Murders:
Working for Old World Wisconsin, Chloe Ellefson delights in losing herself in antiques and folk traditions–and forgetting her messy love life. Then the outdoor ethnic museum becomes a murder scene. Does the missing Eagle diamond, a legendary gemstone unearthed in 1876, have anything to do with it? Could Simon Sabatola, a rich AgriFutures executive who possibly drove his wife to suicide, be responsible? Chloe learns that some things never change in this compelling mystery of old-fashioned greed, Swiss green cheese, and a nearly-extinct heirloom flower.

The books are both published my Midnight Ink and are available now anywhere books are sold.
Dollycas’s Thoughts
I loved both of these books. First because they were a mini trip down memory lane, but Kathleen describes the settings so well you won’t have had to visit the historic site to feel like you are right there in the farmhouses, the barns, or even Chloe’s trailer office. Chloe also travels around the area and the author’s words take us right along with her.

I also enjoyed that Chloe really doesn’t want to being the middle of any of the investigations, she would rather be doing her job as Curator of Collections, keep her boss off her back and spending time with her new friends.

The best part though are the mysteries. They are so well plotted and intelligently written, with plenty of spins and spills, twists and turns. The characters take some turns and spills themselves.

These stories also educate us about the cultures of old Wisconsin in a subtle way. I especially liked the peek we had when a older couple told the story of coming to Wisconsin and making a special type of cheese. The back stories are as rich as the mysteries that unfold in each book. The way historical and modern times mesh together in these stories is truly delightful. You can feel Kathleen’s passion for Old World Wisconsin in her words. She understands the history and the extra research she does for ideas is going to give her a wide range of things to shine a light on in future stories.

This isn’t your ordinary cozy, it is so much more!!! It earns the rating of

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Midnight Ink and the author. 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.”

Now for the giveaway!!!
Kathleen is giving away your choice of one of her books. The winner can choose any of her seventeen titles. The Heirloom Murders, one of her American Girl mysteries, a Civil War novel—the choice will be yours! To learn more, please visit her website,

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

Contest Will End November 3 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here.

17 thoughts on “Cozy Wednesday Special Addition with Author Kathleen Ernst (Giveaway too!)

  1. The Chloe Ellefson Mysteries sound intriguing. I like the idea of an amateur sleuth who isn’t actually looking to sleuth.

  2. I love Old World Wisconsin! We took the kids one Sunday and I found one of our favorite recipes in a cabin there. We walked in one cabin to the most wonderful aroma. I asked the gal what she was cooking. She simply had sliced brats and onions simmering in a dutch oven in cream. I went right home and came up with my own version of the recipe and we still use it to this day. It’s wonderful over mashed potatoes. I have such fond memories of Old World Wisconsin and can just imagine this story taking place there. I love stories that mesh history in with modern times. I will be keeping an eye out for these books!

  3. I have not read any of Ms. Ernst’s books but they sure sound like ones that I would love. for some reason her website would not open so I used Amazon to see her books.

    Dolly, thanks for all the chances you give us to win books.

  4. Thanks for the comments!

    Beth, I loved your story about the recipe! I enjoy integrating food into my Chloe novels. I’ve posted a recipe for Swiss Pear Bread, an old recipe mentioned in The Heirloom Murders, on my website. I’m not sure why you had a problem with the site, Nancy, but this should work:

  5. You’ve certainly got me intrigued. I was wandering round a bookstore yesterday looking at mysteries and trying to choose which series to start reading next.

  6. One of the nicest things about having these two books come out is the reaction people have to the museum setting. People who have been to Old World Wisconsin before like being able to picture a familiar place, and people who have never been–and perhaps live far away–are intrigued by the behind-the-scenes glimpses.

    The 3rd book in the series, due out next fall, takes place in a new locale. Chloe travels to an old lighthouse on Rock Island, in Lake Michigan, to do some consultant work. Of course things don’t go as smoothly as she had hoped!

    And as the series progresses, I do plan to get her to other historic sites as well. Don’t I have a fun job, getting to travel and do the research at such interesting places?

  7. I love Old World Wisconsin. I love finding books set in Wisconsin. Cannot wait to read your books set at Old World Wisconsin. Will be checking out your other books also.
    Sue B

  8. My granddaughter has really enjoyed your American Girl mysteries. I’d love to read one of your adult books!

  9. What an absolutely wonderful series. Thank you so much for taking the time to share about Chloe with us today. I have not been introduced to your series before this and look forward to looking it up and checking it out.

  10. Carol, I’m so glad your granddaughter has enjoyed the AG mysteries! I definitely have not given up writing for kids–in fact, my next AG book will be out next year. I’m doing some juggling, these days, but it’s fun to write for both kids and adults.

    Denise, thanks for stopping by today!

  11. I enjoy finding Wisconsin authors! I remember numerous field trips to OWW! Looking forward to exploring new Wisconsin writings!

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