eBook & Trade Paperback
Midnight Ink Books
September 8, 2019

Unte Hotel, Norway

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Hardanger Fjord Historic Color Postcard

Chloe didn’t cry until the fiddler walked to the casket suspended over the grave, settled the instrument beneath her chin, and began to play.

Thus begins the tenth story in the award-winning Chloe Ellefson series, and thirty-eighth published book by bestselling author Kathleen Ernst.

The Chloe novels combine history and mystery with a little romance. They are written for adults and mature teens who enjoy reading stories without explicit sex, gratuitous violence, or gore.

This page offers a rich mix of background information about the people, places, and the past that went into making Fiddling With Fate.

Story Description

This book features a pair of tightly harmonized timelines.

The modern story begins and ends in Chloe's hometown of Stoughton, Wisconsin, in 1984. An historical plotline takes place during the 19th and early twentieth centuries in Norway's Hardanger region.

Chloe has the devil of a time
unraveling the mysteries of
Norways fiddle and dance traditions

After her mother's unexpected death, museum curator Chloe Ellefson discovers hidden antiques that hint at family secrets. Determined to find answers, Chloe accepts a consultant job in Norway, her ancestor's homeland.

She's thrilled with the opportunity to explore Hardanger fiddle and dance traditionsand her heritage. Once their plane lands, however, Chloe and her fiancé, cop Roelke McKenna encounter disharmony and danger. 

Chloe's research reveals strong women and the importance of fiddle music in their lives. But folklore warns against "the devil's instrument" and old evils may yet linger among the fjords and mountains. As Chloe fine-tunes her search for the truth, a killer's obsession to stop her builds to a deadly crescendo.

Fiddling With Fate includes photos of historic objects and places mentioned in the story, plus a locations map, and cast of characters.

This story is available as a 360-page trade paperback and in Kindle and Adobe EPUB3 ebook formats. 


What Others Are Saying

Photo of author Maddy Hunter. Maddy Hunter
Agatha Award Finalist author
Passport to Peril mystery series

"Fiddling with Fate is a riveting page-turner that culminates in a nail-biting ending. It is more than superlative fiction. It's a masterpiece."
Photo of Patricia Skalka award-winning author. Patricia Skalka
Award-winning author
Dave Cubiak Door County Mysteries

"Fiddling with Fate is a story about proud, strong women and bitter dark secrets.

In her richly-detailed and multi-faceted mystery, Kathleen Ernst skillfully intertwines the past with the present as Chloe and Roelke search for her family roots in Norway amid escalating danger."

About the Author

Bestselling author Kathleen Ernst writes award-winning mysteries, historical fiction, and non-fiction books for adults and young readers.

Kathleen's work has earned numerous honors, including two lifetime achievement awards, an Edgar Allan Poe and multiple Agatha Christie mystery award nominations, and an Emmy for educational television.

To date nearly 1.8 million audio, ebook, and print copies of Kathleen's thirty-eight published books have been purchased. more>>



Related Blog Posts

Enjoy Kathleen's insights about her stories, characters, and settings. Additional posts will be added below over time.

Photo of local folk costumes at the Hardanger Museum in Utne Norway taken by bestselling author Kathleen Ernst. Why Norway?

"Cultural identify, and the many ways people explore and express their own, is one of the recurring themes in the Chloe Ellefson Mystery series. When readers meet Chloe in Book 1...." more>>

Stoughton Norwegian Dancers 2019 photo by Mr Ernst Norwegian Folk Dance

"It's no secret that Chloe Ellefson, protagonist of my historic sites mystery series, love folk dancing. In the second book, The Heirloom Murders, she dances with her Swiss ex..." more>>

Musician and Hardanger Fiddle at Norsk Folk Museum in Oslo Norway Hardanger Fiddles

"The first known Hardanger fiddle (the Jaastad fiddle) dates to 1651. The Hardanger region in SW Norway became famous for its fiddle makers—and fiddlers! When Chloe arrives in Norway..." more>>


Author's Note

In honor of our 20th wedding anniversary, Mr. Ernst and I took a tour to Norway, Chloe's ancestral homeland, organized by Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. It was a fabulous adventure.

We knew right then that I had to get Chloe and Roelke to Norway. Three years later we returned to the Hardanger area, one of our favorites, to research their trip.

Color photo of bestselling author Kathleen Ernst overlooking the Hardanger Fjord at Utne Norway while crafting her 10th Chloe Ellefson mystery: Fiddling With Fate. Photo by Mr Ernst.

When I originally chose to make Chloe a Norwegian-American, I had no idea how much fun exploring her heritage would be!

I’ve learned a lot, acquired new hobbies (rosemaling, nålbinding, and Hardanger embroidery), baked kransekake and fattigmann, and—best of all—made wonderful friends within the Norwegian-American community.

Mr. Ernst and I are grateful for the warm welcome we’ve received in Norwegian circles—and from all of the wonderful readers who've chosen to go adventuring vicariously with Chloe and Roelke.

Color photo of bestselling author Kathleen Ernst and Mr Ernst taken by an unknown photographer in Norway 2015.

We hope all of you get as much enjoyment from reading Fiddling With Fate as we did from creating the tenth Chloe mystery!

                       Kathleen Ernst's signature graphic

P.S. -- Roelke fans: Officer McKenna accompanies Chloe to Norway to support her research—and you'll be glad he did.

P.S.S. -- Learn more about Vesterheim's Norwegian Coastal Voyage tour!

Book discussion logo. DISCUSSION GUIDE
Questions to help spark
a group conversation.


Mothers and daughters. The relationship can be complicated! In Fiddling With Fate, Chloe travels to Norway seeking answers to questions about her mother’s life.

Chloe’s journey brings her closer to understanding not only her mother, but a chain of determined and talented women.

Colorized portrait by famed Norwegian photographer Solveig Lund (1868-1943).

Each of Chloe’s ancestors made choices that echoed though the generations. Some chose to share their knowledge with their daughters and granddaughters.

Others carefully guarded their secrets, but ended up passing on certain experiences and wisdom through genetic memory.

These are the women who helped shape Chloe’s life and cultural identity.


Many scenes in Fiddling With Fate are set in real places, like Chloe's hometown of Stoughton, Wisconsin, and her ancestral homeland in Norway's Hardanger region.

For readers who would like to tour these places, but cannot, Mr. Ernst is creating the custom interactive Google maps below.

When ready this fall, you can use them to virtually visit the story's key locations.

Stoughton, Wisconsin

Custom Google Map with pin indicating location of Stoughton, Wisconsin, USA.

Utne, Hardanger Fjord, Norway

Custom Google Map with pin indicating location of Utne, Norway.

The Past

Historical events and objects, and heritage crafts and traditional foods, are staples in each one of my Chloe Ellefson mysteries. Fiddling With Fate is no exception.

Mr. Ernst is creating a slideshow of some of my favorite things from the story. Once it is finished this fall, you will be able to click on any image to view a larger version of the slideshow, complete with detailed descriptions for each image.

Color photo of a Hardanger fiddle decorated with dancing devils. Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum collection. Used with permission.

And More

Thanks to the magic of digital media, you will be able to eavesdrop on me discussing Chloe, Roelke, and the key characters in Fiddling With Fate on this popular midday Wisconsin Public Radio program.

A digital copy of the discussion will be posted here for your listening pleasure after the October 5th live broadcast.

Larry Meiller Show Larry Meiller
Wisconsin Public Radio
11:00 to 11:40 AM
October 5, 2019

Where To Buy This Book

Fiddling With Fate can be ordered from the following vendors (and others) in trade paperback and multiple ebook formats.

Click below to order your copy now.

Buy from Indiebound Books TRADE PAPERBACK
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Buy from Barnes & Noble NOOK eBOOK
Logo of the Indigo company of Toronto Canada. TRADE PAPERBACK

You can request a signed and personalized printed copy from me by clicking HERE.