Monday, October 16, 2017

Mining for Justice by Kathleen Ernst - #review #giveaway

Chloe Ellefson is excited to be learning about Wisconsin’s 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 historical record 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, Chloe must unearth dark secrets, past and present . . . before a killer comes to bury her.



Mining for Justice is a superb addition to the "Chloe Ellefson" series.  One thing I especially like about Kathleen Ernst's work is that you get a history lesson as well as a wonderful story!

The book begins in Cornwall, a couple of centuries ago, with a mining family by the name of Pascoe.  These aren't the owners, living comfortably in a large house some place not too near the mine.  These are the men that went down into the earth, with limited resources and even less security, and the women who started way too young to sort the ore an rocks topside.  I tell you, I wouldn't mind 'accidentally' bumping into the mine foreman a little too near to one of the mineshafts - he was a nasty piece of work.

But the woman from the charity who came in to check on the welfare of the bal maidens was not a whole lot better.  Sure, her intentions were a whole lot more pure than the foreman's, but she brought a teacup, saucer, plate and a saffron bun...for herself.  Nothing for Mary.  And she blithely told Mary that to become a proper young lady she would have to leave the mine...without a thought that so doing would decrease the family's income to the point of starvation.

After a couple of sudden horrible deaths of two young sisters (one fire, one explosion), the rest of the family decides to emigrate to America to seek a better life.  And it is Mary's savings of her overtime money that pays for the passage.

And it is Mineral Point where the Pascoes set up shop.  Mineral Point, of course, being where Chloe's visiting curator position will be (at Pendarvis) in the present day.  Cornish immigrants played an immense part in the development of the area, yet practically nothing was known about them.

An acquaintance of Chloe's and Roelke's is remodeling an old family house in the town and happens upon a skeleton buried in the basement.  The friend's grandmother had lived in the house for the last several decades and is worried that the town will think she or her husband had something to do with that body being there.

One entertaining element of having two different time periods is that we readers can understand the significance of something that happens in the present to the past, while the present characters do not.  There are more than a few dark comparisons, but a much lighter one would be, "Ha, ha, I know whose picture that is!" *LOL*

And there are moral dilemmas for characters in each time period.  I'm talking serious, life-altering moral dilemmas, not just the "should I tell that I had two cookies when she said I could have one" variety.  This brings up internal debates (or external, in the case of a book club) about right and wrong and which is the lesser of two evils, and how choosing to break the code, even for the 'right' reason, will change a person forever.

My, I got all serious there at the end, didn't I?  Don't let that cloud the fact that Mining for Justice is a highly-entertaining, well-written and researched book.  If Ms. Ernst is not on your 'new-to-me-to-try' authors' list, she should be.  You can follow her at the links below her picture.



Kathleen Ernst is a social historian, educator, and author. Her Chloe Ellefson mysteries reflect the decade she spent as a curator at a large outdoor museum, and feature historic sites in the Upper Midwest.  Library Journal says, “Ernst keeps getting better with each entry in this fascinating series.” Kathleen has also written many mysteries for young readers.  Honors for her work include a LOVEY Award and Agatha and Edgar nominations.  Kathleen lives and writes in Wisconsin.




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(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers, via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for the hospitality, and for the kind words! I love writing the Chloe Ellefson mysteries, and get to choose places and topics I feel passionate about, and I hope that shines through on the page.