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The Heirloom Murders (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery) Paperback – September 8, 2011

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The Heirloom Murders (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery) + The Light Keeper's Legacy (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery) + Old World Murder (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery)
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Product Details

  • Series: A Chloe Ellefson Mystery (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Midnight Ink (September 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780738727585
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738727585
  • ASIN: 073872758X
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Entertaining... Greed, passion, skill, and luck all figure in this surprise-filled outing." --Publishers Weekly

"Complex characterization...a strong mystery...and interesting historical tidbits still happily in evidence." --Kirkus Reviews

"Read The Heirloom Murders for entertainment and edification." --Mystery Scene Magazine

"Engaging characters, a fascinating (real-life) setting, a gripping and believable plot--this is the traditional mystery at its best." --Jeanne M. Dams, Agatha Award-winning author of the Dorothy Martin and Hilda Johansson Mysteries

Winner of the 2011 Anne Powers Fiction Prize from the Council for Wisconsin Writers.

From the Author

One of the fun aspects of planning a new book is considering what themes and ideas to include.

Although The Heirloom Murders weaves several plot strands together (as the description makes clear), I particularly wanted to highlight the important role historic sites play in perpetuating heirloom varieties of vegetables, fruits and flowers. As you'll discover in the novel, it's important work. 

I also wanted to create two secondary characters who reflect so many of the wonderful elderly people I met when I began working at Old World Wisconsin in 1982. I'm grateful to everyone who passed their stories and knowledge along.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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The historic detials and real life settings were great.
Amazon Customer
I've read all three books in the series and am waiting for the fourth one to be released.
Shoshana A. Simon
This is a very well written novel with lots of mystery and historical data.
Maria-Angela Meireles

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J & L Rigod on September 30, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Our sleuth works as a collection curator for the Old World Wisconsin museum. Her name is Chloe Ellefson and in this case she is beset by her ex-boyfriend/lover back home from Switzerland, a possible missing 15.375 carat diamond, heritage seeds that make cheese, medicines, third-world countries economy issues, and a murder plus a suicide.

Chloe just wants to surround herself with peace, histories of former occupants of the Wisconsin Nordic region, and perhaps find love, and friendship. Then came a suicide...

Ms. Ernst's talents seep through the pages as she skillfully blends history with fiction from 1876 through 1982. The book is exciting, interesting, tutorial, and even makes me want to pack and plan a trip to the various sites included that are real.

How many of us really think about Heritage vegetables? We should. The amount of varieties we have lost in the U.S.A. is immense and how narrow we have allowed our choices to become. No wonder we hear, "Food doesn't taste like it used to when I was a child." Apparently, that is a truth!

Women and Men will find this book intriguing with all the equipment discussed and the thought provoking discourse regarding feeding our country as well as the third world peoples.This book is an excellent source of economic reality through today.

As to the mysteries, well, they were fascinating and complex. I can barely wait for Ms. Ernst's next one. Please read this book, you will be amazed to find yourself educated and entertained.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mary E. Trimble on October 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
Kathleen Ernst's "The Heirloom Murders" (Midnight Ink) is a cozy mystery written with flair.

A woman apparently commits suicide and Chloe befriends the deceased's sister, Dellyn. Not only shaken by her sister's violent death, Dellyn is still grieving over the recent death of their parents.

Both young women work at Old World Wisconsin, an outdoor history museum, Chloe as a curator and Dellyn as an agriculture specialist. Chloe is helping Dellyn sort through her parents' household effects, many of which are antique treasurers. Among the numerous files, they find references to the missing Eagle Diamond, a legendary gemstone unearthed in 1876.

Sparks are reignited between Chloe and cop Roelke McKenna when he investigates the alleged suicide. When an ex-boyfriend appears on the scene, Chloe is reminded of a messy and sad previous life she'd hoped to leave behind. The old boyfriend's presence leaves Roelke unsure of how to proceed with his hoped for relationship with Chloe.

A murder takes place on the museum grounds, someone breaks into Dellyn's historic house, and Chloe is attacked when she discovers someone lurking in Dellyn's barn. It becomes clear that murderous greed is behind these evil acts.

The book toggles from the present day to 1876 on Charles and Clarissa Wood's farm. Hired hand Albrecht Bachmeier is helping Charles dig a well, when Charles finds an unusual gem. Once it's washed, the pretty gem is placed on Clarissa's kitchen windowsill.

Kathleen Ernst's "The Heirloom Murders" is a great sequel to the first of the Chloe Eliffson Mystery series, "Old World Murder." The author presents a captivating story with humor and more than enough mystery to entice readers to keep turning the pages.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By jrs3155 on September 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
The Heirloom Murders star Chloe Ellefson, a much more settled character in this second murder mystery set in Wisconsin. Chloe is a collections curator for Old World Wisconsin, a living history museum. When her friend (and avid gardener) Dellyn's sister commits suicide, Chloe steps up to assist Dellyn in continuing to sort through their parents historic house. We get a peek into the past, as Ernst retells the story of a pioneer family that discovers a diamond while digging a well. This gem does become germane to the present story, as greed seems to be a problem for several characters in this mystery. I bounced around a bit in trying to figure out the who-dun-it, but enjoyed the conclusion to the story very much.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By horsesRbest on November 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
SPOILER ALERT! In HEIRLOOM MURDERS (Midnight Ink) readers are delightfully reintroduced to Chloe Ellefson, collections curator and interpreter at Old World Wisconsin. Chloe works with her dear friend Dellyn who researches, cultivates, and propagates heirloom gardens for the living museum.Together they wonder about the missing Eagle Diamond, a precious gem discovered over a hundred years ago.

When Dellyn's sister Bonnie calls 9-1-1 to report her impending suicide, one of Chloe's love interests, officer Roelke, speeds off with his partner to try to save her. They're too late. Bonnie gave specific details, but her body isn't where she said it would be. Mix that with an attack on Chloe while she's in Dellyn's barn filled with valuable antiques, Chloe's entrapment in a Finnish sauna, Dellyn's viscous attack by a German shepherd, and the murder of a museum volunteer.

And what is it that someone finds so precious that it's worth more than human life? You'll be amazed.

Chloe's other love interest is the energetic Markus who shares Chloe's passion for history. Chloe lived with Markus in Switzerland for five years, but after her miscarriage, he panicked and told her to pack her bags.

Markus ends up in Wisconsin and would like to resume their relationship, but Chloe doesn't fully trust him. Besides, there's the manly yet tender police officer, Roelke.

Ernst allows us peeks into another love triangle. This one dates back to 1876. Albrecht works tirelessly digging a well for the insensitve Charles, but finds it worthwhile since he can be near Charles' sweet wife, Clarissa. Albrecht carves a rose in the handle of Clarissa's cultivator. Charles finds an unusual gem which he washes and gives to his wife.

Chloe and Roelke have an innate connection.
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More About the Author

Bestselling writer Kathleen Ernst is the award-winning author of 31 mystery, historical fiction, and non-fiction books for adults and young readers. Her latest include "Tradition of Deceit," the fifth Chloe Ellefson Historic Sites mystery for adults from Midnight Ink, and the upcoming "The Smuggler's Secrets" -- her ninth Caroline Abbott children's novel from American Girl.

Over the years Kathleen's work has earned numerous writing honors, including Edgar and Agatha mystery award nominations, a LOVEY, and an Emmy. To date, readers have purchased over 1.5 million printed, electronic, and audio copies of her books.

Kathleen has a Masters Degree in History Education and Writing from Antioch University, where her self-designed program focused on nontraditional methods of teaching and learning history, with a special emphasis on historical fiction. She spent over a decade as a Curator of Interpretation and Collections at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin's Old World Wisconsin outdoor museum, a job that provided great material for her novels.

She lives near Madison, Wisconsin with her husband Scott and Sophie the cat. Some of her greatest pleasures include gardening, learning folk crafts, traveling to research new books, and hearing from readers. To that end, she maintains an extensive website,, an author's page on Facebook,, and a blog,

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