The Light Keeper's Legacy (Chloe Ellefson Series #3)

( 2 )


Past and Present Collide Beyond Death’s Door

Solitude at last! Museum curator Chloe Ellefson leaps at the opportunity to be a consultant for the historic lighthouse restoration project on Rock Island, a state park in Wisconsin’s scenic Door County. Hoping to leave her personal and professional problems at home, Chloe’s tranquility is suddenly spoiled when a dead woman washes ashore. Determined to find answers behind the mystery, Chloe dives into research about the island’s ...

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The Light Keeper's Legacy (Chloe Ellefson Series #3)

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Past and Present Collide Beyond Death’s Door

Solitude at last! Museum curator Chloe Ellefson leaps at the opportunity to be a consultant for the historic lighthouse restoration project on Rock Island, a state park in Wisconsin’s scenic Door County. Hoping to leave her personal and professional problems at home, Chloe’s tranquility is suddenly spoiled when a dead woman washes ashore. Determined to find answers behind the mystery, Chloe dives into research about the island’s history and discovers the amazing, resilient women who once lived there. But will the link between the past and present turn out to be a beacon of hope or a portent of doom?

"Kathleen Ernst wraps history with mystery in a fresh and compelling read.”—Jane Kirkpatrick, New York Times bestselling author

Winner of the Lovey Award for Best Traditional/Amateur Sleuth Mystery

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ernst’s leisurely third Chloe Ellefson mystery set in 1982 Wisconsin (after 2011’s The Heirloom Murders) takes museum curator Chloe to Lake Michigan’s Rock Island, a state park, to do research on restoring the island’s lighthouse. This excursion also gives her time to think about her relationship with her policeman boyfriend, Roelke McKenna, who gave her Sue Grafton’s A Is for Alibi before she left Eagle, Wis. Soon enough Chloe is involved in a mystery of her own after she stumbles on a dead body wrapped in fishnet on the island’s beach. An account of a 19th-century Danish settler, net maker Ragna Anderson, alternates with Chloe’s adventures, providing a rich, if confusing, historical background. The discovery of a second body (also wrapped in fishnet), narrow escapes from the lighthouse, and a kayak battle add to the suspense. Natural descriptions abound, though often at the expense of pace. Agent: Andrea Cascardi, Transatlantic Literary. (Oct.)
Library Journal
On temporary curatorial assignment to one of Wisconsin's famed Door County lighthouses, historian Chloe Ellefson is thrilled by her solitary setting. Chloe has feelings for her buildings—she experiences "auditory echoes"—and quickly becomes immersed in the area's history, convinced that something sinister happened on this island long ago. But there is nothing historical about the dead body washed up on the beach. When Chloe's research introduces her to assistant lighthouse keeper Emily Betts and her friend, Danish immigrant Ragna, Chloe senses the story must be told. Unfortunately, other issues, such as another dead body, interfere. VERDICT A haunted island makes for fun escape reading. Ernst's third amateur sleuth cozy (after Heirloom Murders) is just the ticket for lighthouse fans and genealogy buffs. Deftly flipping back and forth in time in alternating chapters, the author builds up two mystery cases and cleverly weaves them back together. Pair with Dianne Day historicals and Katherine Hall Page's Faith Fairchild series.
Kirkus Reviews
A curator is happy to be loaned out to investigate an old lighthouse, until her trip turns from a treat into a nightmare. Chloe Ellefson is not on the best terms with her boss at Old World Wisconsin. So, a trip to an uninhabited island to do research on a lighthouse that's under restoration sounds like fun despite the misgivings of Roelke McKenna, her police officer boyfriend. Chloe arrives without incident on Rock Island, which has been designated a state park despite the efforts of developers. She meets park manager Garrett Smith. She settles in at Pottawatomie Lighthouse. But her peace is shattered when she goes to the beach and discovers the body of a dead woman. The unknown girl is far from the first victim of the dangerous waters of Lake Michigan. In addition, Chloe quickly learns that there's always been tension between commercial and sport fishermen and the authorities who must enforce the ever-changing rules. She becomes intrigued with the life and times of Emily Betts, assistant keeper to her husband, William, in the 1870s. Chloe has the unwelcome gift of exceptional sensitivity to things in the past, and she has bad feelings about an area of the island, formerly a fishing village, that an archaeologist is now exploring. The story cuts back and forth between the troubles and privations of the early settlers and the present day, where a murderer lurks. It falls to Chloe to marry past and present and find a killer who can't stop at just one. Chloe's third (The Heirloom Murders, 2011, etc.) combines a good mystery with some interesting historical information on a niche subject.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780738733074
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 10/8/2012
  • Series: Chloe Ellefson Series, #3
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 383,169
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen Ernst is an award-winning and bestselling author, educator, and social historian She has published over thirty novels and one nonfiction book. Her books for young readers include the Caroline Abbott series for American Girl. Honors for her children's mysteries include Edgar and Agatha Award nominations. Kathleen worked as an Interpreter and Curator of Interpretation and Collections at Old World Wisconsin, and her time at the historic site served as inspiration for the Chloe Ellefson mysteries. The Heirloom Murders won the Anne Powers Fiction Book Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers, and The Light Keeper's Legacy won the Lovey Award for Best Traditional Mystery from Love Is Murder. Ernst served as project director/scriptwriter for several instructional television series, one of which earned her an Emmy Award. She lives in Middleton, Wisconsin. For more information, visit her online at

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Read an Excerpt

Open publication - Free publishing - More chloe effelson

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Reading this way pure joy!!

    Museum curator Chloe Ellefson leaps at the opportunity to be a consultant for the historical lighthouse restoration project on Rock Island. She needs a little time to herself and the tranquility of the Door County state park seems perfect. She will be able to sort through her personal and professionals problems while she attacks the assignment given to her by RISC, the Rock Island Support Circle.

    The idyllic place loses its luster though when a dead woman washes ashore below the lighthouse. Now in addition to researching the time periods and the caretakers of the lighthouse she will try to find the answers to the many questions about the dead woman as well. The women in history that lived on Rock Island were strong and resilient but all had their own set of problems and strife. Could the woman Chloe found have a link to the women of the past? Chloe has a feeling she does. She just needs to follow the clues and uncover the mystery.

    I have quickly learned one thing about the mysteries written by Kathleen Ernst. Once you start reading them you just can't stop. So I have learned to plan accordingly. The afternoon spent reading this story was pure joy.

    Kathleen has a way of mixing historic times and places with bold characters to create wonderful mysteries. They are smart, well crafted and captivating. The new characters we meet on Rock Island are full, rich and defined. Ernst takes us from 1982 back to the 1860s seamlessly. We get to know the history of the island and the lighthouse and the changes and effects of the fishing regulations. The people who were there on the island then and how they got there and why some left when others stayed. How the past effects the present and the future. I know these books are thoroughly researched and sometimes the best way to learn history is through fictional stories. That is how it has always been back through time. Storytellers are the historians that teach in ways easy to understand. Kathleen Ernst is a gifted storyteller and educator.

    I have said before about Kathleen books and it holds true in The Light Keeper's Legacy, this is not your ordinary cozy, it is so much more. Everyone will enjoy this story. I recommend it highly. If you haven't read the first two installments you can start with this one but I guarantee you will want to read them all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2012

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