Midnight Ink Books - Oct. 8, 2017

Watercolor painting of the Pendarvis State Historic Site, Mineral Point, Wisconsin. Copyright Jennifer Sharp Giddings. Used with permission.A human-powered windlass used for lowering and lifting miners and raising ore and rubble out of a primitive sub-surface lead mine in southwestern Wisconsin. Photographer unknown. Image taken circa late 1800s. Wisconsin Historical Society Image 8990 cropped.

“I’m worried about Libby,” Roelke said. Chloe Ellefson glanced sideways at the man she loved. He hadn’t spoken since they’d left home almost an hour ago, so she’d known something was on his mind. 

Thus begins the eighth story in the award-winning Chloe Ellefson series, the thirty-sixth 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 Mining for Justice.

Story Description

In this book Chloe, Roelke, and others are forced to face the question, just how far are you willing to go to protect the people you love?

This story takes place in September 1983 in Eagle, Palmyra, and Mineral Point, Wisconsin—with an historical plotline set in Cornwall, England, during the 1820s and Mineral Point in the 1830s and 1860s.

Chloe Ellefson is excited to be learning about Wisconsin's early 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 local historical records for answers.

She soon finds herself in the center of a heated and deadly controversy that threatens to close Pendarvis. While struggling to help the historic site stay open, Chloe must unearth dark secrets, past and present . . . before a killer comes to bury her.

Mining for Justice includes photos of historic objects and places mentioned in the story, plus a locations map, cast of characters and glossary of Cornish words.

This book will be published October 8, 2017 as a 384-page trade paperback and in multiple ebook formats. To see a partial list of vendors offering the book for pre-order, click the link below.


What Others Are Saying

Susanna Calukins, award-winning author. Susanna Caulkins 
Macavity Award-Winning Author
Lucy Campion Mysteries

"Richly imagined and compelling, Mining For Justice once again highlights Kathleen Ernst’s prowess as a storyteller, with its nuanced characters and intersecting mysteries."

Kirkus reviews logo Kirkus Reviews

"The eighth in the series contrasts the difficult life of Wisconsin's Cornish miners with the heroine's burgeoning romance, highlighting her researching skills and unusual feel for the past."

About the Author

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

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

To date readers have purchased over 1.7M audio, ebook, and printed copies of Kathleen's (soon-to-be) 36 published books. more>>


Related Blog Posts

Enjoy the author's insights about the story, characters, and settings. Note: additional posts will be added below after the book is released.

Partial image of the Mining For Justice, Chloe Ellefson mystery #8, book cover. Written by bestselling author Kathleen Ernst, published by Midnight Ink Books 2017. Mining For Justice - Launch Events

"Mining For Justice, the 8th Chloe Ellefson Mystery, is officially slated to be released on October 8th. But we’ve got three special early launch activities planned." more>>
Color photo of modern sign for the Wisconsin Historical Society Pendarvis Historic Site. Why Mining for Justice?

"I have more story ideas banging around in my head than I’ll ever find time to explore. My files about possible historic sites and museums to explore in a Chloe Ellefson mystery are..." more>> 

Cornish stone cottages, Pendarvis Historic Site, Mineral Point, Wisconsin. Photo by Scott Meeker. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Chloe writes: "I love my guy, but he can be a bit overprotective. That's to be expected, I guess. Roelke McKenna is a cop. It's his job to anticipate trouble. Me, I prefer to..." more>> 

Author's Note

The Cornish have a saying: If there’s a deep hole anywhere in the world, there’s likely a Cornish miner at the bottom.

Before writing Mining For Justice, I knew very little about the Cornish miners who immigrated to southwest Wisconsin in the 1830s, drawn by reports of lead deposits.

Many came with their families. The arrival of Cornish women and children in the wild mining camps began transforming Mineral Point into a true, year around community.

Bestselling author Kathleen Ernst, 65 feet below the surface, exploring the 1850s Badger Lead Mine at Shullsburg, Wisconsin.

Theirs is a fascinating story—one I really enjoyed researching and writing about.

Unfortunately the early Cornish settlers, especially the women, left very few written records. What were their lives like?

I did my best to imagine their experience, just as Chloe does while on temporary assignment at the Pendarvis Historic Site.

                       Kathleen Ernst's signature graphic

P.S. -- Roelke fans, never fear! He plays a prominent role in this story—above and beyond finding the long-buried remains.

P.S.S. -- After the book is released I'll post a free PDF guide here that can download to help book groups discuss this story.

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


In Cornwall, England during the 1800s, girls and unmarried women worked above ground at mines—washing, sorting, and breaking up ore. In the Cornish language they were called bal maidens—mine girls.

Most began work around age ten, but evidence suggests some girls started as young as seven years old.

Did any bal maidens immigrate to Mineral Point? Since the lead mines attracted the Cornish to Wisconsin, it seems likely.

Oil-painted portrait of an unknown woman that hangs in Pendarvis House in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. Used with permission of the Pendarvis Historic Site.

In this mystery you’ll meet Mary Pascoe, a young bal maiden who arrives in Mineral Point with her brothers in 1835, thirteen years before Wisconsin became a state.

I have imagined Mary’s life, and the many challenges she faced, in honor of all the strong women who left no records behind, but did so much to create a new home.


Many scenes in Mining for Justice are set at real places—like Mineral Point and the Pendarvis historic site—that you can visit. 

An interactive map will be added below to enable you to virtually visit these settings.

Customer Google map image of upper North American.

The Past

Historical events and objects, and heritage crafts and traditional foods, are staples in each one of my Chloe Ellefson mysteries. Mining For Justice is no exception.

In this story I focused on immigrants from Cornwall, England, who settled in Mineral Point in 1835—well over a decade before Wisconsin became a state.

My research unearthed a wide variety of historical events, objects, crafts, and foods. Some of them influenced the story; others actually appear in it.

An original iron "Sticking Tommy" candle holder used by Cornish miners in Mineral Point, Wisconsin.  Mining and Rollo Jamison Museums. Photo by Scott Meeker.

Once the book has been officially released, I will add a slideshow above with some of my favorite images, with descriptions and sources, relating to the story.

And More

This September 28th I will be talking about Mining For Justice and answering audience questions on Wisconsin Public Radio's popular The Larry Meiller Show. You can hear us live from 11:45 AM to 12:30 PM on the WPR Ideas Network radio stations or streaming over the web from

Then thanks to the magic of digital media, you will be able to stream the program, on-demand, from this page afterwards.  

Larry Meiller Show Larry Meiller
Wisconsin Public Radio
-- Min. -- sec.
September 28, 2017

Where To Buy

Mining for Justice is officially scheduled for release on October 8, 2017 in both trade paperback and multiple ebook formats.  

Click below to pre-order a copy now.

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