American Girl Publishing
Reprinted by Skyview Books
Audio Version by Recorded Books
eBook Versions by Open Road Media

trouble at fort la pointe, american girl mysteries


"Edgar Award Nominee
for Best Children's Mystery"
— Mystery Writers of America



Maybe today, Suzette thought hopefully as she slipped on her moccasins.  Maybe today our family can paddle to the island!  After days of stormy weather, sweet new-morning sun sifted through the pine and birch trees surrounding the Ojibwe camp.  She'd find Papa and ask him.  


Thus begins the national award-nominated Trouble at Fort La Pointe, the first of Kathleen's now twenty books for American Girl.

This story is written for readers age 9 and up who are interested in historical fiction without sex, gore, or explicit violence.

Story Description

Suzette Choudoir has spent each of her twelve summers at La Pointe Island on Lake Superior, where Ojibwe people camp by the French fur-trade fort. 

It is 1732 and if her papa wins the trappers' competition, the prize will let him stay with his Ojibwe family year-round instead of wintering in far-off Montréal with the other French voyageurs.

But a troublemaker sabotages the competition, and Papa. Only someone who's both Ojibwe and French can figure out what's going on—someone like Suzette. 

This book includes a richly illustrated "Peak Into The Past" essay, glosseries of French and Ojibwe words, and an author's note.


Originally released as a 165-page book in softcover and hardcover, it is now in multiple ebook fomats and as a beautifully spoken audiobook.

What Others Are Saying

American Library Association Booklist logo.  Booklist
Book Review

"Ernst has created a well-plotted mystery, sprinkled judiciously with clues, and she does a commendable job of integrating setting and cultural details."

KLIATT Book Reviews logo.  KLIATT
Audiobook Review

This American Girl History Mystery is a delight. The reader conveys well Suzette's many emotions and adventures among the mixed community at the trading post."
Children's Literature logo. Children's Literature
Book Review

"Reveals much about the life of French and Indian traders and the culture in this region."
Multicultural Review logo. Multicultural Review
Book Review

"Addressing cross-cultural issues within this gripping story is the strength of the book."

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.

The Story Behind The Story

Photo by Kathleen Ernst of a Native American lodge at Grand Portage National Monument, Minnesota. I thought about writing a story about the Great Lakes’ fur trade era for a long time. Lake Superior is beautiful, and the region’s history is fascinating. From 1650 to 1850, the fur trade was the most important “business” in the area that...  more>>

Click to Order

Trouble at Fort La Pointe can be purchased as an audiobook, ebook, or in hardcover. 

Here is a brief sample from the audiobook.

NOTE: You can also buy 'as new' original American Girl softcover and hardcover copies of this book directly from me, signed and personalized as you request. To receive a quote, click HERE.

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Author Note

This was the very first book I wrote for American Girl. I wanted to create a character who lived during the fur trade era, in what is now northern Wisconsin.

Suzette, who has an Ojibwe mother and a French father, needs to use skills and knowledge from both cultures to solve a problem that threatens her family.

For details about the research that went into creating this story, read The Story Behind The Story blog post on this page. 

Click to Download

Trouble at Fort La Pointe book cover painted by Jean-Paul Tibbets, written by Kathleen Ernst, published by American Girl., american girl mysteries PREVIEW
Get a sneak peak
inside this book 
Image of an open book with a red apple on top. TEACHER'S GUIDE
For teachers and

Click to Play Video

Fur Trade Encampment - Madeline Island, Wisconsin

What It Looked Like

This shows a modern replica of a 90-pound bundle of furs. The leather straps were for carrying the bundle on a person's back.

A bundle of furs, wrapped in burlap, with leather straps for carrying it on a person's back. Photo by Kathleen Ernst, taken at Grand Portage U.S. National Monument.