American Girl fan that I am, I recognized the name Kathleen Ernst from the many historical fiction novels she has written about Molly, Kirsten, Josefina, Kaya, Kit and others. Ms. Ernst is a Wisconsin resident and has now begun a series about a young woman who is hired as the curator of collections at Old World Wisconsin. The new series is called the “Chloe Ellefson Mystery Series”. Old World Wisconsin is an actual place – a settlement reconstructed from historic houses, barns and sheds brought from Norwegian, German, Swedish, Polish, Danish, & Irish farms. Historical interpreters make history come to life throughout the 600 acre site – which is the largest outdoor museum of rural life in the United States.
(Enough of touting OWW – click this link to learn more after you read the rest of this post: http://oldworldwisconsin.wisconsinhistory.org)
Kathleen Ernst knows history… and she obviously has some insights into historical preservation as well. I was enthralled with the setting and the details of the first in the series, “Old World Murder”. Chloe Ellefson, the protagonist, isn’t a perfect person nor does she have anything close to Hercule Poirot’s “little gray cells”, but the mystery moves along and she is swept up in the need for closure on the missing historical artifact that is the catalyst for two deaths. There is also a romance brewing as well as clues about someone in her past. I’ll look forward to reading Chloe’s second mystery: “Heirloom Murders” as soon as possible.
If you are a Wisconsinite, enjoy history and love mysteries, keep your antennae tuned to Kathleen Ernst!