Trade Paperback
HenschelHAUS Publishing
Large Print
Gale Publishing

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?

The 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 that are mentioned in the story, plus a locations map, a cast of characters, and a glossary of Cornish words.

This story is now widely available as a 384-page trade paperback, a large print hardcover, and in Adobe EPUB3 and Kindle ebook formats.


What Others Are Saying

Susanna Calukins, award-winning author. Susanna Calkins 
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."
Author Robert Olmstead. Photo by Workman Press. Robert Olmstead
Winner of the Heartland Prize for Fiction
Judge for the 2017 Edna Ferber Fiction Award

"Fascinating, informative, dramatic, meditative, Kathleen Ernst's Mining For Justice does the needful work of resurrecting another passage in our lost history. Scrupulous in detail, the transport is complete and poignant, the characters, the setting, the drama as immediate as today. ...A page-turner of secrets revealed, crime committed and mystery unfolding."
Mystery Scene Magazine logo. Mystery Scene Magazine
Review by Robin Agnew

"I was captivated by this novel. Ernst holds all the story threads in her hands lightly, providing the right doses of suspense, danger, and mystery in the right amounts at the right times."
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."
Logo of the Escape Into A Good Book With Dollycas blog by Lori Caswell. Lori Caswell
Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book blog

"Mining for Justice has become my favorite book in this series and will be included in my Best Reads of 2017. Kathleen Ernst is a real treasure."
Photo of Allen L. Schroeder, retired director, Pendarvis Historic Site, Mineral Point, Wisconsin. Allen L. Schroeder
Site Director, Retired
Pendarvis Historic Site

"In addition to the well written murder mystery, I especially enjoyed the inclusion of the role the Cornish women and children played in the mining of the lead."

About the Author


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

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

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

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>> 
Polperro House Cornish cottage at Pendarvis Historic Site, Mineral Point, Wisconsin. Photo by Scott Meeker. Pendarvis - Part 1

"It’s lovely when readers tell me that after reading one of the Chloe mysteries, they toured the historic site or museum spotlighted in the book. Pendarvis..." more>>
Row house at Pendarvis Historic Site, Mineral Point, Wisconsin. Photo by bestselling author Kathleen Ernst. Pendarvis - Part 2

"Another building featured in the mystery is the row house on the upper property. The upper rooms on the right are used for staff offices (including Claudia’s..." more>>
Bal Maidens

"I knew I wanted to create a strong Cornish woman for the historical plotline. And I decided to begin her tale in Cornwall so I could quickly establish both her strength..." more>> 
Color photo of a Cornish cottage at the Pendarvis Historic Site in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. Photo by bestselling author Kathleen Ernst. Not A Good Start

Chloe writes "All I wanted was a pleasant week away. Was that really so much to ask? I work at a huge living history site called Old World Wisconsin. I love the museum..." more>>
Shards found in the root cellar of a Cornish-built stone cottage in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, now n the collection of the Mining & Rollo Jamison Museums in Platteville, WI. Photo by Scott Meeker. What's A Guy To Do?

Roelke writes "I'm in a bind. Nothing is more important to me than taking care of those I love. One of those people is my lady-friend, Chloe Ellefson. As she told you last time..." more>>
Bestselling author Kathleen Ernst research her Mining For Justice mystery at the Platteville Mining Museum, Platterville, Wisconsin. Photo by Scott Meeker. The Mining Museum

The latest Chloe Ellefson mystery, Mining For Justice, features Wisconsin’s lead mining era. To learn about the miners’ work, the Mining Museum in Platteville, WI, is a great place to explore. more>>
Photo of the Badger Mine & Museum sign in Shullsburg, Wisconsin. The Badger Mine and Museum

If you’re exploring southwest Wisconsin’s lead mining history, be sure to include a stop at Schullsburg’s Badger Mine and Museum. Mr. Ernst and I visited while I was working on..." more>>
Photo of a pioneer's Badger Hole, displayed in the Badger Mine and Museum, Shullsburg, Wisconsin. Cabin Fever

Mary Pascoe writes: "I heard a miner talking about "cabin fever" the other day. Now that winter's pressed down, do you have it too? If so, I must admit to some envy. It took every..." more>>
Photo of t-shirt with There's Always Room For Figgy Hobbin. Photo by bestselling author Kathleen Ernst taken 2017 at the Red Rooster Cafe, Mineral Point, WI Figgy Hobbin

"I love exploring traditional foodways, especially if they have an ethnic flair. Not surprisingly, the protagonist of my Chloe Ellefson Mysteries does too." more>>
Exerpt from Miners' Free Press newspaper, Mineral Point, Wisconsin, 1837. Digging for Information

"It’s challenging to find primary-source information about Territorial Wisconsin. While researching Mining For Justice, the 8th Chloe Ellefson mystery, I was therefore delighted to learn..." 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 historic Badger Mine at Shullsburg, Wisconsin.

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

Those early Cornish settlers, especially the women, left us 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.

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 six years old.

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

Source: Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, paper by James Henderson, 1858. Oil-painted portrait of an unknown woman that hangs in Pendarvis House in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. Source: Pendarvis Historic Site Collection.

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. 

Below is a custom interactive Google map designed to enable you to virtually visit the key locations where the story takes place.

When you open the map, clicking on a red pin will reveal a photo and brief description of that location, but no spoilers. Click on the map below to start your tour.

Mineral Point, Wisconsin

Google map of the Mineral Point, Wisconsin area.

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.

Below are some of my favorite things from the story. Click on any image to view a larger version of the slideshow, complete with detailed descriptions for each image. (Caution: contains some spoilers.)

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And More

Thanks to the magic of digital media, you can now eavesdrop on me discussing Chloe, Roelke, and Mary on this popular Wisconsin Public Radio show.

Larry Meiller Show Larry Meiller
Wisconsin Public Radio
29 Min. 12 sec.
September 28, 2017

But wait, there's more! I have created a Pinterest board about this book, which you can access by clicking on the logo below.

Pinterest logo.

Where To Buy

You can order Mining for Justice in trade paperback and large print formats from indie bookstores and large vendors.

Author signed and personalized trade paperback copies can be also requested directly from me by clicking HERE.

NOTE: Due to a change in publishers, eBook copies are not currently available, but will be re-republished.

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