THE LIGHT KEEPER'S LEGACY
CHLOE ELLEFSON MYSTERY #3
Midnight Ink Books
This is the third novel in Kathleen's award-winning Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites mystery series. The book is set in Door County, Wisconsin in September 1982, with flashbacks to events between 1869 and 1906.
The Chloe series is written for adults and mature teens who enjoy traditional mysteries (i.e., without explicit sex, violence, or gore).
This page contains a rich mix of details about the people, places, and the past that make up The Light Keeper's Legacy.
Solitude at last! Museum curator Chloe Ellefson jumps at the chance to spend time on Wisconsin’s Rock Island, a state park with no electricity or roads. On temporary assignment from Old World Wisconsin to consult on restoring the island’s historic 1858 lighthouse, her research turns up fascinating tough-as-nails women from the past.
Chloe’s tranquility is spoiled when a dead woman washes ashore. Is it an accidental drowning, or has tension over tighter fishing regulations reached a dangerous boiling point? When a second body is found, Chloe finds herself trapped with a killer on remote Rock Island.
This 360-page book contains a cast of characters, a map of Rock Island, and an author's note with links to additional resources. It is available as a trade paperback and in e-book versions. For details, click on the FIND THE BOOK link below.
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What Others Are Saying
|LOVEY Award for Best Traditional Mystery
Love Is Murder Mystery Writers Conference
LOVEY winners are chosen by the readers, writers, agents, and publishers at the annual Love is Murder conference in Chicago, the Midwest's premier mystery, romance, suspense, thriller gathering.
New York Times Bestselling Author
Where Lilacs Still Bloom and The Daughter's Walk
"In the fashion of Barbara Kingsolver, Kathleen weaves contemporary conflicts of commercial fishing, environmentalists, sport fisherman and law enforcement into a web of similar conflicts in the 1880s... I ignored food so I could finish this third Chloe Ellefson mystery quickly."
|Mystery Scene Magazine
Review by Lourdes Venard
"While the mystery elements of this book are very good, what really elevates it are the historical tidbits of the real-life Pottawatomie Lighthouse and the surrounding fishing village. Even some characters, such as the Betts family, are based on real people. And the author, herself a curator, has spent time as a live-in docent at the lighthouse. Such rich historical details shine a light on a fascinating slice of American history."
|Escape With Dollycas Blog
"Kathleen has a way of mixing historic times and places with bold characters to create wonderful mysteries. They are smart, well crafted and captivating... 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."
Rock Island State Park Manager (retired)
"A fun and interesting read, with a great understanding of island history and the commercial fishing industry."
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About the Author
Bestselling author Kathleen Ernst writes award-winning mysteries and historical fiction for adults and young readers. Her work has earned numerous honors, including multiple Edgar and Agatha mystery award nominations, and an Emmy for educational programming.
To date, readers have purchased over one million printed, electronic, and audio copies of Kathleen's twenty-six published books. more>>
Related Blog Posts
Enjoy the author's insights about the story, characters, and settings.
|The Empty Meadow
I had intended to write a novel “just” about Pottawatomie Lighthouse in Rock Island State Park. Why look any farther? Pottawatomie has it all... more>>
|The Library Box
What did the library box look like? The question came up last week when I visited a book group to discuss the 3rd Chloe Ellefson mystery, The Light Keeper’s Legacy. A library box is... more>>
|When Past and Present Collide
I’ve been a history junkie since childhood. My librarian-mom kept me supplied with historical fiction, and family vacations always included stops at historic sites and museums. As an adult... more>>
|The Lure of a Lighthouse
What is it about lighthouses? I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve said something along the lines of “Your new Chloe Ellefson book is set at a lighthouse? I love lighthouses!” more>>
Anonymous was a woman, they say. Anyone who loves history—or who has waded into the murky waters of genealogical research—knows that it can be much more difficult to learn about historical women than men. more>>
|Danish Needle Lace
Handwork in all its many forms is dear to my heart, as I’ve discussed here before in 2010 and 2011. I love featuring different types of crafts in my books. As a former museum curator, and... more>>
|Cast Iron and Memories
Pottawatomie Lighthouse, the oldest light station in Wisconsin, sits on top of a bluff on Rock Island, in lake Michigan. Rock Island is now a state park, and it provides the setting for my latest Chloe... more>>
|Women at the Lights
When Scott and I began serving as volunteer docents at Pottawatomie Lighthouse (Rock Island State Park, Lake Michigan, WI), I was delighted to learn that two of the Keeper’s wives officially served as Assistant Keepers... more>>
|Water, Water Everywhere,
Nor Any Drop To Drink
So said Samuel Taylor Coleridge in his famous ballad, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. I suspect that some of the former light keepers at Pottawatomie Lighthouse (Rock Island, WI) muttered... more >>
My husband Scott and I are recently back from our 4th stint as docents at Pottawatomie Lighthouse in Rock Island State Park, WI. Rock Island is situated off the northern tip of... more >>
|Documenting the Crimes
"Chloe found the first body right there,” I said, pointing. My husband Scott said, “Perhaps you should keep your voice down.” Then he balanced precariously on the shifting beach cobbles... more >>
|Last Link in the Chain?
Last week Scott and I vacationed on Washington Island, WI, off the tip of Door County in Lake Michigan. While having dinner at KK Fiske Restaurant, we heard something startling... more >>
|Joining the Club
People who live on Washington Island, off the northern tip of Door County, WI, have been known to tell newcomers that they won’t be true islanders until they stop at Nelsen’s Hall for a shot of... more >>
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For the past few years my husband and I have had the pleasure and privilege of serving as volunteer docents at Pottawatomie Lighthouse, located in Wisconsin’s Rock Island State Park.
For one week each summer we've lived in the lighthouse, giving tours during the day and enjoying Lake Michigan's beauty.
The island’s human history is fascinating; it was inevitable that I get Chloe there. I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I did researching and writing it.
Come visit the lighthouse and take a tour!
P.S. -- Below is a free guide I've developed to help groups discuss the book. Enjoy! (Caution: contains spoilers.)
Questions to help spark
a group conversation.
CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
Museum curator Chloe Ellefson and police officer Roelke McKenna are the two main characters in this series.
In The Light Keeper's Legacy the spotlight is mostly on Chloe. She heads to Rock Island, hoping that time away from Roelke will help clarify her feelings about him. What kind of relationship does she want?
Events intervene—it is a murder mystery, but by book's end Chloe and Roelke find a measure of contentment—for the moment.
At the heart of the msytery are a pair of strong secondary characters from the past: Emily Betts and Ragna Anderson.
Emily is a real person who was Assistant Lighthouse Keeper from 1872 to 1882. Ragna (pronounced Ron-yah), a Danish immigrant, is a fictional character. Their friendship connects the lighthouse to the island's fishing village.
Ragna brought from Denmark a recipe for Aeblekage (Apple Cake). This is a quick and tasty dessert, consisting of applesauce and sweetened crumbs layered in a dish. Help yourself to a copy of Ragna's recipe.
|DANISH APPLE CAKE
Quick, easy, delicious.
CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
My stories are set in places that I love. That's especially true for this book.
The settings in The Light Keeper's Legacy are real. Almost all of them still exist and can be visited. These two resources will help you discover them.
Tthe interactive Google map below lets you virtually visit Washington and Rock Islands, where the book takes place.
Click on the map to begin.
The Locations Guide below to was created to help you plan, and get the most out of, an in-person Chloe tour of the islands.
This guide contains lots of photos, maps, and descriptions. It also includes advice on when to visit, how to get there, and some of my favorite places to eat and stay.
Take this free, 13-page PDF file with you on your mobile device or on paper.
Enjoy your visit to the islands!
Discover the places where
key scenes take place.
CLICK TO DOWNLOAD
History is a strong and essential element in each Chloe Ellefson mystery.
In The Light Keeper's Legacy, past events on Rock Island hold important clues that help Chloe solve a modern mystery.
While researching the novel I discovered a number of evocative historical documents, images, and objects. Some appear in the book, while others influenced the story.
The slideshow below contains some of my favorites. Click on any image to see larger size copies of the slides, with descriptions.
Too often my research and writing duties preclude me from accepting invitations to speak with groups of mystery readers.
However, two wonderful radio hosts invited me to discuss the book. Thanks to their generosity, and the magic of digital media, you can listen to our conversations about Chloe and Roelke, Ragna and Emily, Rock Island, and the lighthouse.
Click the right-facing arrows to listen.
Milwaukee Public Radio
17 min. 08 sec.
August 7, 2013.
Wisconsin Public Radio
36 min. 41 sec.
October 29, 2012.
The Light Keeper's Legacy can be ordered through local independent bookstores and from national chains. It is available as a trade paperback, and in e-book versions that can be read using Amazon Kindle apps and devices, and on Apple iPads and Macs, the Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo readers, and other ePUB compatible apps and devices.
Signed and personalized printed copies of The Light Keeper's Legacy can be ordered directly from the author.