All I wanted was a week away. A breather from my misogynistic boss, Ralph Petty. I work as curator at a huge outdoor museum called Old World Wisconsin, and although I love it, Petty can make life difficult.

So I was pleased to learn that I was being “loaned” to Pendarvis, a sister site, to help assess collections storage needs. The site preserves several homes built for the Cornish immigrant families that arrived in the 1830s to mine lead in southwestern Wisconsin.

I’m passionate about immigrant history, and especially love delving into the experiences of those sturdy souls who left little behind to document their experiences. Most of the Cornish immigrants were illiterate. With few exceptions, their material possessions would have been functional items, used up and worn out. I’m especially hoping to learn more about the first Cornish women to arrive.

Besides, the Pendarvis curator, Claudia, is a friend. I really expected the week to be a break from all things stressful.

But the day my boyfriend Roelke and I arrived in town, we learned that administrators were considering closing Pendarvis. Why? Supposedly because too many funds had been funneled to my site, Old World Wisconsin. After hearing that news, some of the locals are not looking kindly on my visit.

Then, Roelke discovered human remains buried in an old Cornish cottage near Pendarvis.

And then it became clear that someone at Pendarvis is keeping a deadly secret.

So it’s safe to say that my days here as guest curator are not at all what I’d expected. Today Claudia didn’t show up for work. Her boss has disengaged. The staff resents me. Town residents are upset. And a killer is wandering among the quaint stone buildings on the site.

One thing is clear. If I can’t figure out what’s going on, I could soon become history myself.


You can read more about Chloe in Mining for Justice, the eighth book in the “Chloe Ellefson” mystery series.

Digging Up Secrets Uncovers a Legacy of Peril

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 middle 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.

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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. 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.

All comments are welcomed.

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