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The Light Keeper's Legacy (Chloe Ellefson Mystery #3)

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  365 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
An island's history holds clues to a modern murder Solitude at last! Museum curator Chloe Ellefson jumps at the chance to spend time on Wisconsin's Rock Island, a state park with no electricity or roads. Hired as a consultant for a project to restore the island's lighthouse, her research turns up fascinating tough-as-nails women from the past. Chloe's tranquility is spoile ...more
ebook, 360 pages
Published October 8th 2012 by Midnight Ink (first published 2012)
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Dee Gurganus
Feb 19, 2017 Dee Gurganus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have found another excellent mystery writer in Kathleen Ernst. It took me a few chapters to get hooked on this story but once I did, it was hard to put it down. Chloe is a museum curator with a knack for finding death bodies. My initial draw to this book was the Lighthouse theme. This one on Lake Michigan and is located in a park that is only accessible by boat. The story bounces from present day to the 1800's view point of people who lived on the island. This helped to understand what Chloe w ...more
Oct 05, 2012 LORI CASWELL rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
Museum curator Chloe Ellefson leaps at the opportunity to be a consultant for the historical lighthouse restoration project on Rock Island. She needs a little time to herself and the tranquility of the Door County state park seems perfect. She will be able to sort through her personal and professionals problems while she attacks the assignment given to her by RISC, the Rock Island Support Circle.

The idyllic place loses its luster though when a dead woman washes ashore below the lighthouse. Now i
This is the third book in the Chloe Ellefson mystery series and so far, I liked this one the best.

I loved learning about Rock Island! It makes me want to visit there someday.

I also loved how just about every other chapter was the story of two women on the island during the 1870's-1910. Emily Betts and Ragna Anderson's stories are very important connections to the present stories.

Of course Chloe can't go anywhere without finding a dead body or two!

I liked Chloe's character best in this book. The
Cathy Cole
Oct 04, 2012 Cathy Cole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First Line: "This trip of yours is a very bad idea," Roelke said soberly.

It's 1982, and against her boyfriend Roelke McKenna's better judgment, Chloe Ellefson loads her Pinto (including the copy of A Is for Alibi that Roelke gave her) and heads for Rock Island State Park off the coast of Wisconsin in Lake Michigan. Her expertise as a collections curator is needed by the folks who want to bring Pottawatomie Lighthouse back to life for all its visitors.

It's good that she's needed elsewhere because
Aug 13, 2013 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up at a tiny bookstore on Washington Island because I love getting books on vacation by local authors. Turns out, the author lives in Middleton so she's more local in regards to my apartment than Door County. No matter, the mystery takes place on Rock Island which is a mile off the tip of Washington Island and the main character is a curator so I was still well satisfied as far as learning some history of the place I'd just been.

The writing and story were surprisingly good! Now tha
Dec 28, 2012 AmniconStudio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2013
I've read the first two books in this series and this third book did not disappoint.

I was pulled into the story right away and read it in less than a week. I probably would have finished it sooner, but most of my spare time right now is going toward a different project.

The author has a wonderful way of weaving two stories into one book and when you are done reading the book you see how they tie together. It's an interesting way to learn a piece of history of Wisconsin as well.

The main characte
May 08, 2014 Joyce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
History and mystery is a good combination that Kathleen Ernst does a nice job of in “The Light Keeper's Legacy”, and her message of preserving all aspects of history, from all viewpoints is important.

Alternate chapters go back in time to the 1800s, telling the stories of the inhabitants of Rock Island; tidbits of the the keepers lives of Pottawatomie Lighthouse and the surrounding fishing village. Curator Chloe Ellefson is happy to be loaned out to investigate an old lighthouse, until her trip t
Feb 25, 2013 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd love to give this 6 stars! I loved this book and am enjoying the series. I could not put this book down. The plot was amazing. I loved flipping back and forth between what happened in the past vs what was going on in real time. The series is set in the 1980s and there are no cell phones or computers to help the sleuth and I find that so refreshing. For those who like historical fiction with their cozy - this series is highly recommended!
Nov 03, 2016 Miriam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
It's a mystery within a mystery. What happened to the Anderson's on Rock Island (in the middle of Lake Michigan), and why are people dying on the island today? Of course, intrepid fearless Chloe is in the thick of things while she studies the history of the light keepers.

It's a great mix of history, researching, reading old letters to learn about history, and of course a murder or three or four.

If you love history, you'll love this book.
Jul 20, 2014 LJ rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Chloe Ellefson is a special collections professional who is spending a week at the historic Pottawatomie lighthouse on Rock Island to research furnishings for the RISC (Rock Island Support Circle). This group of dedicated volunteers is in the process of restoring the lighthouse with the hope that it will soon be open for visitors. Chloe looks forward to leaving behind some drama at the place where she works, Old World Wisconsin and drama in her private life, with an undefined romantic relationsh ...more
Jan 09, 2017 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
I think the writing has become stronger with each installment in the Chloe Ellefson mystery series. In this one the stories from the distant past melded much more seamlessly with the narrative of Chloe's present circumstances. Previously, I felt it was much more disjointed and upset the flow.
Karen morsecode
Chloe Ellefson, curator of collections for Old World Wisconsin, is hoping for a respite from her overcomplicated work and personal life when she accepts a week-long consulting gig at another Wisconsin historic site.  Rock Island State Park's rustic charm is just the thing Chloe needs to unwind.  But, when she discovers a dead body on her first night on the island, it's clear that Chloe has more to worry about than just preparing a furnishing plan for the site's historic lighthouse.

The Light Kee
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
Book Three in this excellent series 'A Chloe Ellefson Mystery' finds out historian and museum curator, Chloe Ellefson working as a consultant for the 'historic lighthouse restoration project on Rock Island, Wisconsin.'

The restoration of the lighthouse has finally reached the point where they need Chloe's expertise in furnishing and telling of the lives of the historic edifice. Although, Chloe hasn't yet put a decade to focus upon, she finds herself drawn to a photograph of a former wife and ass
Sep 16, 2012 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chloe Ellefson, curator of collections for Old World Wisconsin, is asked to be a consultant for a possible restoration project for Pottawatomie Lighthouse in Rock Island, Wisconsin. Still unsure of her feelings for Officer Roelke McKenna and frustrated by her boss's constant meddling, Chloe jumps at the chance for week-long solitude at the lighthouse. Just as Chloe arrives, however, she finds a woman's corpse washed ashore. Chloe soon finds herself determined, especially when a second woman is f ...more
Lucy Saint-smith
It isn't often that I write a review without having finished the book, but I found this book tedious, and having stopped reading it over the summer I have decided not to bother going back to it.
It is a mystery book with two parallel sections - one in the 1980s and one in the 19th century. The main character in the 1980s is a curator, hired to put together a display in a lighthouse in North America. She is quite annoying and her methodology is questionable (I say this as someone with a backgrou
Biblio Files
May 22, 2013 Biblio Files rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't remember why I read the first book in this mystery series about a curator at an open air history museum in Wisconsin. It takes place in 1982, the main character is a tightly wound 32 year old woman just off a bad relationship, and she's taken a job in a new town to make a fresh start. The romantic interest is a tightly wound cop on the local small town police force. That book was Old World Murder. I have no particular interest in Wisconsin or its history, and I've been to one open air mu ...more
Nov 22, 2012 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mainlibrary
Having walked the same steps of the antagonist, Chloe Ellefson, I too have sensed the calling of stories left untold. The history of Rock Island and the Pottawatomi light hold secrets left behind by those that fished the waters and tended the light; challenges, rules and regulations, traditions, hopes and dreams. Ernst elegantly weaves these secrets through the past and present with such visualization that one can almost smell the woodsmoke from the little cottages that dotted the shores of the ...more
❂ Jennifer
Well, this book has a little bit of everything - present day mystery, historical mystery, and just a little bit of ESP, so I labeled it with paranormal. :)

Chloe goes to Rock Island to stay at a lighthouse for a week to study it's history. As she becomes enmeshed in the history, the author runs a parallel story that takes place in the late 1800's, giving the book two mysteries unfolding throughout the course of the book.

The writing is excellent, and I found myself pulled into the past story line
Curator Chloe Ellefson is lent to a project on Rock Island where a volunteer group wants to rehab a lighthouse on a state park. She encounters few people on the quiet island, but does find a drowned woman. Even that does not deter Chloe, who longs for solitude and the chance to think about her life. But both her work and thought are disturbed by her growing perception that something strange happened among the fishermen who lived on the island in the 1880's, and by the discovery of another body. ...more
Jan 06, 2013 Kathleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set on Rock Island, off the coast of Wisconsin on Lake Michigan, this novel (part of a series involving museum curator Chloe Ellefson?) successfully weaves mysteries of the early 1980’s to those of 100+ years ago. The reader will learn much about the painstaking research of the museum curator (and the need for extensive funding to support it) along with the commitment and work of those responsible for conserving land and natural resources. The stories, skillfully told, of the early immigrants re ...more
Doreen Fritz
I read this book in preparation for a vacation trip to Washington and Rock Islands in Door County, and it was enjoyable to recognize specific places that I have visited there in the past, as well as to imagine the historical lives that were lived long ago. Modern day historian Chloe Ellefson leaves a job at Old World Wisconsin (in Kettle Moraine) to do some investigation on Rock Island for a group that is restoring the lighthouse. Chloe's method of investigation involves immersing herself into a ...more
Beth Turza
Jan 16, 2013 Beth Turza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The 3rd in the Cloe mystery series, the Light Keeper's Legacy takes Cloe out of her beloved Old World Wisconsin historical village and to a remote island lighthouse to catalog and suggest how best to interpret the site as a museum. Like her other books, Kathleen takes the reader through a dual time period as we visit the late 19th century and the lives of two women who lived on the island, on the light keepers wife, and the other a poor fishermans wife. Cloe tries to solve a mystery during their ...more
Chloe Ellefson leaves Old World Wisconsin in this story and heads to Wisconsin's Door County to live as a consultant for a week at an historic lighthouse on Rock Island. Accessible only by boat, Chloe is cut off from the real world and able to immerse herself in the historical nature of her job by reading former lighthouse keeper's journals. A dead body in the present leads to Ernst's interspersing the tale of new immigrants to the fishing world of the island in the 1800's, with secrets of their ...more
Chloe Ellefson has landed smack dab in the middle of another mystery, this time on a mostly deserted island. She was chosen to be a consulting curator at the lighthouse on Rock Island. While there, she stumbles over in-fighting, historical mysteries, and a couple of bodies.
Intertwined with the "modern" (1980's) story is one from the founding of the island. Another murder occured and the characters Harrison creates are just as vibrant and more compelling than those of the 80's.
(view spoiler)
Museum curator Chloe Ellefson jumps at the chance to spend time on Wisconsin’s Rock Island, a state park with no electricity or roads. On temporary assignment from Old World Wisconsin to consult on restoring the island’s historic 1858 lighthouse, her research turns up fascinating tough-as-nails women from the past.

Chloe’s tranquility is spoiled when a dead woman washes ashore. Is it an accidental drowning, or has tension over tighter fishing regulations reached a dangerous boiling point? When a
Jul 18, 2013 Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chloe Ellefson travels to Rock Island State Park to work as a consultant on their lighthouse restoration project. Her job requires that she spend a week alone to research the lighthouse and its history. Her first day ends when she finds the body of a woman snagged among fishnets on the beach. Chloe digs into the history of the island and seems to feel that the answers to the woman's death lie in the past. This is a good series. I enjoy Chloe and Ms. Ernst weaves a very fine tale combining histor ...more
Sep 07, 2015 Marcia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book for a mystery book club. I have not read the first two in the series. Those in the book club that had read the whole series said it was probably not the best one and did not really give the reader much sense of the main character Chloe. It is a "Cozy" mystery. It is set up in Door County Wisconsin. I have been up that way a few times so I found the familarity of the setting interesting. It was a good summer light read. I might even read the others to see how I like them since th ...more
Jul 06, 2014 Quinn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book from the library shelf because of its setting on Rock Island in Wisconsin. It was an interesting story about a historian that is brought to the lighthouse on Rock Island. Along the way she becomes immersed in learning about the life on this island starting around 1865. A parallel story is told with the people from 1865 forward. Nice blending of the historical elements and telling of the conflicts with fishing regulations and fishermen that still continues to present time.
Aug 21, 2015 Carmen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightful mystery set in the beautiful surroundings of Rock Island in Door County, WI. Reminiscent of a "Murder She Wrote" episode, Ernst uses her thorough research of the area and the history of the Potawatomi Lighthouse to bring to life her characters. As Chloe Ellefson works to solve murders, both past and present, each suspect and character is written in a true spirit of the island. A pleasure to read.
Jane Healy
Mar 22, 2016 Jane Healy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fellow librarian led me to this series, and because I love lighthouses and the Great Lakes, I thought I'd start with this one. I was not disappointed. The book alternates between Rock Island in the 1800's and Chloe Ellefson's visit there in the 1980's. I enjoyed learning about this place, and it was interesting to see the storyline develop in each time period finally solved in a satisfying way at the end. I'm eager to read more of these stories.
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I grew up in Maryland, in a house full of books! Both of my parents were avid readers, thank goodness. Before we traveled to a new area, my librarian-mom used to bring home historical novels set in that place. It was a great way to get excited about history.

I began writing stories when I was maybe 10 or 11. At 15 I wrote my first novel; I sold my first novel to a publisher 20 years later! Writing
More about Kathleen Ernst...

Other Books in the Series

Chloe Ellefson Mystery (7 books)
  • Old World Murder (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery #1)
  • The Heirloom Murders (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery #2)
  • Heritage of Darkness (Chloe Ellefson Mystery #4)
  • Tradition of Deceit (Chloe Ellefson Mystery #5)
  • Death on the Prairie (Chloe Ellefson Mystery, #6)
  • A Memory of Muskets

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