All I wanted to do was host a good special event at Old World Wisconsin, the big historic site where I work as a curator. A Civil War reenactment, to be exact. Nothing hokey, just some top-notch reenactors spending the weekend helping visitors understand how the war impacted people in Wisconsin—especially newly-arrived German immigrants. Enlistment rallies, a recreated draft, war relief efforts, things like that.
Preparations are not progressing smoothly.
My maniac boss decided that visitors won’t respond positively to anything except a big battle reenactment. He sort of threatened to fire me if the Civil War event did not go well. And just for good measure he dumped a big make-work project on me.
Then a reenactor was found dead at our restored 1860 German farm. He wasn’t carrying ID, and so far, no one has been able to identify the man. The cops aren’t sure if his death was accidental. . .or a case of murder.
I’d like to report that I’m finding comfort and solace at my new home, but that’s become a source of anxiety too. My boyfriend, Roelke McKenna, recently purchased the old farm that his ancestors established in the 1850s. I love everything about the farm except the bad vibes lingering in the original cabin, which Roelke wants to fix up for me. It would be great to have my own private space, but honestly, the sense of hopelessness I feel in the cabin is so strong that I can’t bring myself to step inside.
I began researching Roelke’s family, hoping to discover the source of the bad energy, and. . .well, let’s just say I found something disturbing. Evidently Roelke’s great-grandmother Rosina, who came to America from Germany at the tender age of sixteen, faced some challenges of her own during the Civil War.
I love being in a relationship with Roelke. I’m committed to learning as much as I can about Rosina. I just hope my research doesn’t ruin my personal life.
I also love being a curator, and I’m committed to seeing this Civil War reenactment through. I just hope that when the reenactors fall in, there isn’t a killer isn’t in the ranks.
A Memory of Muskets is the seventh book in the Chloe Ellefson mystery series, published by Midnight Ink, October 2016.
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.
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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 1.7 million copies of Kathleen’s 34 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. Connect with Kathleen at www.kathleenernst.com, Sites and Stories blog, and on Facebook.
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