Mining For Justice: A Chloe Ellefson Mystery
By Kathleen Ernst
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.
A Sixth Sense
Do you believe in extrasensory perception? That phrase refers to the ability to receive information in a way other than sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. It’s a bit of a misnomer, because most scientists agree that all humans perceive information in some additional ways, such as experiencing pain.
Most scientists do not agree that what we broadly call ESP, or a Sixth Sense, is real.
Well, although I don’t like to talk about it, I’ve been having ESP experiences since I was a child. Sometimes, when I’m in an old building or other historic place, I can perceive a layer of some very strong emotion lingering within the space. Most often it’s no big deal. But sometimes—wham. I can be overwhelmed with a sense of joy, or grief, or hopelessness, rage… you name it.
Obviously, experiencing a lingering aura of contentment or satisfaction is just fine. If the emotion quivering through the years is ugly, though, that can be a wee bit of a problem. I work as a curator at a living history museum in Wisconsin. My work requires me to enter old buildings all the time! And every once in a while, I encounter something so harsh and vivid that I have to flee.
At the moment, I’m visiting Pendarvis, a charming historic site in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. I’ll be here for a week as a guest curator, helping Pendarvis staff. I’ve been looking forward to learning more about the old buildings preserved there. They date back to the 1830s, when Cornish miners and their families arrived to dig for lead.
But before my stay even officially began, I found trouble when I walked into the root cellar of an old Cornish cottage. The owner had found some artifacts in there, and I was eager to see if there might be more. But as soon as I stepped inside, I felt a jolt of something almost electric shoot through my solar plexus.
Something bad, something very ... very dark, is buried among the artifacts in that root cellar.
I have the feeling that my stay in Mineral Point is going to be wretched if I can’t figure out what happened in that cottage. Sometimes, if I put my research skills to work, I can discover what happened in a spot like that. And if I’m really fortunate, sometimes I can make an old wrong right.
It’s going to be an interesting week. Wish me luck!
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.