Monday, April 17, 2017

A Lingering Presence

By Chloe Ellefson, Historic Site Curator

From The Chloe Ellefson Mystery Series

By Kathleen Ernst

Not long ago my guy, Roelke McKenna, showed me his old family farm and invited me to move in. I've never seen him happier. Buying the farm was a huge step for him. Reaching this stage in our relationship was a huge step for us.

Knowing I need a certain amount of personal space, Roelke suggested that I use the original cabin on the property as my retreat---somewhere to read or paint or whatever. I adored that idea...until I stepped inside. Lingering in that cabin is an overwhelming sense of hopelessness that punched me in the gut.

I've occasionally sensed such a presence in old buildings since I was a kid. My memories of family vacations are a blur of long car rides and visits to historic sites. Sometimes these creaking places gave me distinct impressions of emotions: joy, sadness, loneliness.

Eventually I got used to tuning the sensations out.  It's not much different than tuning out background chatter when reading in a crowded coffee shop. I also learned not to speak of my impressions.  By the time I decided to enter museum work, it took a real whammy to rattle me.

The old Roelke cabin rattles me.

I hurt Roelke's feelings when I told him that there is something so dark in the building that I can't bear to step inside. I don't know how we can live together if I don't figure out how to get past this.

So I've got some research to do.  The cabin was home to the first Roelkes  to immigrate to Wisconsin, Klaus and Rosina.  

I think the emotion lingering in the cabin was left by Rosina, who lived there the longest. What made her lose all hope?

Can I find the truth, over a century later? And figure out a way to fix the situation? All I know is that I have to try.

* * *

To learn more about this award-winning series, see Kathleen's website.


  1. What a terrific introduction for me. New series with a great premise. Thanks.

  2. I'm looking forward to reading Memory of Muskets, but it looks like I've got a few books to read beforehand. This series sounds wonderful!

    1. Celia, I completely understand about long TBR lists! Hope you enjoy Memory of Muskets when the time is right.

  3. I just love this series. It is so refreshing for a sleuth to solve mysteries without the help of a cell phone or computer. This historical element is a big bonus!

    1. Kim, you just made my day! I'm delighted to hear that you're enjoying the series. It is fun for me to work out a plot that must be solved without those conveniences.

  4. How intriguing. I don't know how I got to this page in my browser! It just popped up. So I get the hint: I can't wait to read this series. FYI: a sentence above reads, "Can I find the truth, over a century a later?" Rosina must want me to get out my red pen. ❣️��

  5. I don't know how you got to this page either, but I'm glad you did! :>) I hope you enjoy the story. (And thanks for pointing out that extra "a" which will be fixed at once!)

  6. My own German ancestors settled in Kansas in the very early 20th century after a brief stay in Rhode Island. This sounds like a wonderful book!