As collections curator for Old World Wisconsin, Chloe Ellefson delights in losing herself in antiques and folk traditions—and forgetting her messy love life. But her peace is destroyed when her ex-boyfriend unexpectedly turns up, followed by a break-in at her friend Dellyn's historic house—a potential treasure trove of priceless antiques. Was the intruder hunting for the missing Eagle Diamond, a legendary gemstone unearthed in 1876?
When a grisly murder takes place on the museum grounds, Chloe is further drawn into a mystery involving a rare variety of Swiss cheese, a nearly extinct heirloom flower...and plain, old-fashioned murderous greed.
Winner of the 2011 Anne Powers Fiction Prize from the Council for Wisconsin Writers.
"Chloe is an appealing character, and Ernst's depiction of work at a living museum lends authenticity and a sense of place to the involving plot."—St. Paul Pioneer Press
"Greed, passion, skill, and luck all figure in this surprise-filled outing."—Publishers Weekly
"Entertainment and edification."—Mystery Scene
"Interesting, well-drawn characters and a complicated plot make this a very satisfying read."—The Mystery Reader
At the start of Ernst's entertaining second Chloe Ellefson mystery set in 1982 Wisconsin (after 2010's Old World Murder), a call to the Eagle, Wis., police department sends officers racing toward a woman who has calmly announced her plans to commit suicide information so detailed that when they find her dead body on a forest trail minutes later, the minor discrepancies suggest foul play. The victim is identified as Bonnie Sabatola, the sister of Dellyn Burke, a gardener of historical plants who works with Chloe at an outdoor ethnic museum. Dellyn recently inherited her parents' antique-filled farmhouse after they died in a car crash. At the farmhouse, Dellyn turns up info about the massive Eagle Diamond, discovered by early area settlers that was later stolen and never recovered. Chloe wonders whether Bonnie's death could be related to the missing diamond. Greed, passion, skill, and luck all figure in this surprise-filled outing.