My day will be spent crawling about a creepy, enormous, long-abandoned flour mill. The Washburn A Mill in Minneapolis, to be exact. It’s a long way from Old World Wisconsin, the rural farm museum where I’m employed as curator of collections. But visionaries at the Minnesota Historical Society are hoping to turn the mill into a museum. I’m here to help my friend Ariel develop an interpretive plan.
In theory, the museum is a great idea. The Washburn Mill, completed in 1874, was once the world’s largest flour mill. New milling techniques industrialized the production of a basic food item for the first time in history. The mill gave us Gold Medal Flour and Betty Crocker.
Ariel, however, is afraid to go inside the place. It’s spooky, I must admit—cold, dark, damp, and filled with dangerous old machinery. People who are homeless live here. Kids dare each other to sneak inside. Drug dealers do business in the shadows.
And then there’s the disturbing fact that during my first tour of the mill, we discovered a professor’s body in a rusty hulk called a turn-head distributor.
I’d rather be spending a peaceful day at my own historic site, topped by sharing dinner with my guy. Officer Roelke McKenna and I haven’t been a couple for long, and time together is something to savor.
But Roelke is in Milwaukee with troubles of his own. His best friend was killed in the line of duty. Rumors that Rick was drinking on the job are flying around the Milwaukee Police Department. Roelke doesn’t believe it, and he’s focused on finding the truth. So focused, in fact, that he’s shut me out entirely.
So I’m trying to figure out why an architectural historian was killed in the Washburn A Mill. Ariel’s on the edge of an emotional meltdown, lies are being told, secrets are being kept, and my boyfriend isn’t returning my calls.
And to think, some people assume the history world is boring…
You can learn more about Chloe in Tradition of Deceit, the fifth book in the “Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites” series, published by Midnight Ink. The first book in the series is Old World Murder.
Giveaway: Leave a comment by December 12 for a chance to win a trade paperback copy of TRADITION OF DECEIT. The giveaway is open to residents of North America.
Meet The Author
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. Visit Kathleen at her website or on Facebook.