Fiddling with Fate

Fiddling with Fate

By:  Ernst, Kathleen

$21.99 Paperback
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Midnight Ink

Limited ***

5.3 X 8.0 in
360 pg

FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths

Chloe has a devil of a time unraveling the mysteries of Norway's fiddle and dance traditions

After her mother's unexpected death, curator Chloe Ellefson discovers hidden antiques that hint at family secrets. Determined to find answers, Chloe accepts a consultant job in Norway, her ancestors' homeland. She's thrilled with the opportunity to explore Hardanger fiddle and dance traditions . . . and her own heritage.

Once their plane lands, however, Chloe and her fiancé, cop Roelke McKenna, encounter only disharmony. Chloe's research reveals strong women and the importance of fiddle music in their lives. But folklore warns against "the devil's instrument" and old evils may yet linger among the fjords and mountains. As Chloe fine-tunes her search for the truth, a killer's desire to stop her builds to a deadly crescendo.

Praise for the Chloe Ellefson Mystery Series

Fiddling with Fate
"A story about proud, strong women and bitter dark secrets. In her richly-detailed and multi-faceted mystery, Kathleen Ernest skillfully intertwines the past with the present as Chloe Ellefson searches for her family roots in Norway amid escalating danger."—Patricia Skalka, winner of the Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award

The Lacemaker's Secret

"The Lacemaker's Secret allows the readers rare access to Wisconsin's old-country heritage in a very factual and picture-perfect manner . . . [Ernst creates] authentic story lines based on real life ways and situations. My old log cabin makers hat goes off to her for bringing attention to many important stories and sites of pioneering and the people who risked everything to begin again in the New World."—Alan C. Pape, former restoration chief at Old World Wisconsin (1971–1983) and preservation editor for Log Home Guide magazine

Mining for Justice

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

A Memory of Muskets

"Veteran Ernst provides a new perspective on the Civil War woven together with a compelling mystery."—Kirkus Reviews

"Extremely well-written."—Suspense Magazine

"Kathleen Ernst knows how to spin a tale, weave an intricate plot, and hide clues in the embroidery. A Memory of Muskets takes two stories separated by more than a century and knits them together into one thoroughly satisfying read."—Kathy Lynn Emerson, Agatha Award–winning author of How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries and Murder in the Merchant's Hall

Death on the Prairie

"Fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder will savor the facts . . . Ernst does an exceptional job of sharing the kinds of character details that cozy readers relish."—Booklist

"A real treat for Little House fans, a fine mystery supplemented by fascinating information on the life and times of Laura Ingalls Wilder."—Kirkus Reviews

"'Die-hard fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder' takes on a whole new meaning when Chloe and her sister embark on a 'Laura pilgrimage,' visiting all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder sites, in search of proof that a quilt given to Chloe was indeed made by Laura herself . . . Fans of Laura and Chloe both will enjoy Death on the Prairie . . . Ernst spins a delightful tale of intrigue that interweaves facts about Laura's life with fan folklore, and of course, murder. I give this book an enthusiastic two thumbs up!"—Linda Halpin, author of Quilting with Laura: Patterns Inspired by the Little House on the Prairie Series

"The sixth installment of this incredible series . . . is a super read that sparks the imagination."—Suspense Magazine

"As superbly pieced together as a blue-ribbon quilt, Death on the Prairie is deft and delightful, and you don't want to miss it!"—Molly MacRae, Lovey Award–winning author of the Haunted Yarn Shop mysteries

"Suspense, intrigue, trafficking in stolen artifacts, blackmail, murder: they're all here in this fast-paced mystery thriller. Chloe Ellefson set off on a journey to visit all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder sites in search of the truth about a quilt Wilder may have made, and in the process of solving several crimes Chloe learns a lot about the beloved children's author and about herself."—John E. Miller, author of Becoming Laura Ingalls Wilder and Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little Town

Tradition of Deceit

"Ernst keeps getting better with each entry in this fascinating series."—Library Journal

"Everybody has secrets in this action-filled cozy."—Publishers Weekly

"All in all, a very enjoyable reading experience."—Mystery Scene

"A page-turner with a clever surprise ending."—G.M. Malliet, Agatha Award–winning author of the St. Just and Max Tudor mystery series

"[A] haunting tale of two murders . . .This is more than a mystery. It is a plush journey into cultural time and place."—Jill Florence Lackey, PhD, author of Milwaukee's Old South Side and American Ethnic Practices in the Twenty-First Century

Heritage of Darkness

"Chloe's fourth . . . provides a little mystery, a little romance, and a little more information about Norwegian folk art and tales."—Kirkus Reviews

The Light Keeper's Legacy

"Kathleen Ernst wraps history with mystery in a fresh and compelling read. I ignored food so I could finish this third Chloe Ellefson mystery quickly. I marvel at Kathleen's ability to deepen her series characters while deftly introducing us to a new setting and unique people on an island off the Wisconsin coast . . . It takes a skilled writer to move back and forth 100 years apart, make us care for the characters in both centuries, give us particular details of lighthouse life and early Wisconsin, not forget Chloe's love interest, and have us cheering at the end. A rich and satisfying third novel that makes me ask what all avid readers will: When's the next one?! Well done, Kathleen!"—Jane Kirkpatrick, New York Times bestselling author

"Chloe's third combines a good mystery with some interesting historical information on a niche subject."—Kirkus Reviews

"A haunted island makes for fun escape reading. Ernst's third amateur sleuth cozy is just the ticket for lighthouse fans and genealogy buffs. Deftly flipping back and forth in time in alternating chapters, the author builds up two mystery cases and cleverly weaves them back together."—Library Journal

"Framed by the history of lighthouses and their keepers and the story of fishery disputes through time, the multiple plots move easily across the intertwined past and present."—Booklist Online

"While the mystery elements of this book are very good, what really elevates it are the historical tidbits of the real-life Pottawatomie Lighthouse and the surrounding fishing village."—Mystery Scene

The Heirloom Murders

"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

"Interesting, well-drawn characters and a complicated plot make this a very satisfying read."—Mystery Reader

"Entertainment and edification."—Mystery Scene

Old World Murder

"[S]trongest in its charming local color and genuine love for Wisconsin's rolling hills, pastures, and woodlands . . . a delightful distraction for an evening or two."—New York Journal of Books

"Clever plot twists and credible characters make this a far from humdrum cozy."—Publishers Weekly

"This series debut by an author of children's mysteries rolls out nicely for readers who like a cozy with a dab of antique lore. Jeanne M. Dams fans will like the ethnic background."—Library Journal

"Museum masterpiece."—Rosebud Book Reviews

"A real find . . . 5 stars."—Once Upon a Romance

"Information on how to conduct historical research, background on Norwegian culture, and details about running an outdoor museum frame the engaging story of a woman devastated by a failed romantic relationship whose sleuthing helps her heal."—Booklist

"A wonderfully-woven tale that winds in and out of modern and historical Wisconsin with plenty of mysteries—both past and present. In curator Chloe Ellefson, Ernst has created a captivating character with humor, grit, and a tangled history of her own that needs unraveling. Enchanting!"—Sandi Ault, author of the WILD mystery series and recipient of the Mary Higgins Clark Award

"Propulsive and superbly written, this first entry in a dynamite new series from accomplished author Kathleen Ernst seamlessly melds the 1980s and the 19th century. Character-driven, with mystery aplenty, Old World Murder is a sensational read. Think Sue Grafton meets Earlene Fowler, with a dash of Elizabeth Peters."—Julia Spencer-Fleming, Anthony and Agatha Award–winning author of I Shall Not Want and One Was A Soldier

Kathleen Ernst is an award-winning and bestselling author, educator, and social historian. She has published over thirty novels and two nonfiction books.  Her books for young readers include the Caroline Abbott series for American Girl.  Honors for her children's mysteries include Edgar and Agatha Award nominations.  Kathleen worked as an Interpreter and Curator of Interpretation and Collections at Old World Wisconsin, and her time at the historic site served as inspiration for the Chloe Ellefson mysteries.  The Heirloom Murders won the Anne Powers Fiction Book Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers, and The Light Keeper's Legacy  won the Lovey Award for Best Traditional Mystery from Love Is Murder.  Ernst served as project director/scriptwriter for several instructional television series, one of which earned her an Emmy Award.  For more information, visit her online at