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Old World Murder (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery #1)
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Old World Murder (Chloe Ellefson Mystery #1)

3.49  ·  Rating Details  ·  786 Ratings  ·  155 Reviews
Trying to leave painful memories behind her, Chloe Ellefson is making a fresh start. She's the new collections curator at Old World Wisconsin, an outdoor ethnic museum showcasing 1870s settlement life. On her first day, Chloe meets with an elderly woman who begs her to find a priceless eighteenth-century Norwegian ale bowl that had been donated to the museum years ago. But ...more
Paperback, 325 pages
Published October 8th 2010 by Midnight Ink (first published October 1st 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,997)
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Oct 24, 2010 Kathy rated it it was amazing
THIS is the kind of traditional mystery I love, which is so hard to find nowadays. Strong characters all down the line -- clearly drawn, believable, and people you care about. Even minor characters have a 3-D mix of attitudes and behavior that make them feel real. A steadily snowballing plot which interlaces plenty of puzzles -- some I figured out before the answers were revealed, the main one got by me completely. A wonderful sense of place -- small-town Wisconsin -- and a great behind-the-scen ...more
Jun 18, 2012 Lauren rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this, but the author didn't pay much attention to its supposed time period. I suppose she sets it in 1982 because that's when she herself worked at the historic site featured in the book, but hell, couldn't she either have pretended that the site was just the same today or spent more time reinforcing the 1982-ness? A character cooking portobello mushrooms totally seemed anachronistic to me (dictionary says first known occurrence of the word is 1986--aha!), and I had to keep forcibly re ...more
Dec 27, 2015 Laura rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
donna recommended it

nice read, strong main characters, excitement elevates to an unexpected ending, a touch of budding romance
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
Sep 24, 2011 Jeannie and Louis Rigod rated it it was amazing
This is a debut novel in what I hope will be a long-lived series. Our sleuth, Chloe Ellefson, has just taken a new job as a Collections Curator for a living museum, "Old World Wisconsin." Now this museum is real and can be accessed on the computer which added a surprising dimension to the book. The story/characters are fiction but several settings are real.

The setting is unique and these were historical/genealogical situations that I had never thought about in my Celtic/American upbringing. I le
Aug 13, 2011 Carol rated it it was amazing
I had read about this book in the newspaper and it sounded good, I especially liked that it was set in Wisconsin. I put the book on hold at the library and surprisingly got it shortly after visiting Old World Wisconsin. I really enjoyed the book and it was even better that I was able to visualize the story in the Old World setting. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series and hope there are many more!
Dec 28, 2015 Wendy rated it liked it
This was a good, steady paced mystery. Its characters were realistic and kept the story going. Chloe the curator is definitely not your typical cozy protagonist. So, despite me disliking her personality, it was refreshing to actually have a character with flaws. A good read for the State Challenge for Wisconsin.
Wonderful book! As a museum worker myself it is fun to see the backstage of others doing a job like mine. I couldn't put it down and can't eating until I can find the next in the series.
Nov 27, 2010 Barbara rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I just decided to "throw this in my cart" at the library, as I thought it might turn out to be good. As it turns out, I did enjoy this, overall.

I did have some problems, with the heroine, Chloe Ellefson, spending so much time away from her official duties at her new job as curator at a historic site in Wisconsin, especially after a troubled past, while she pursues the mystery of a missing Norwegian ale bowl. I guess my problem deals with my past as a goody two shoes - always following the rules
Oct 23, 2010 Meghan rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2010, mystery
I should start off by saying that I won this book through Goodreads. There were times at the beginning where I would have set it aside if I hadn't felt like I needed to finish it in order to give a review, which would have been a shame, because I definitely ended up enjoying it.

The book begins by introducing the reader to Old World Wisconsin, as Chloe herself begins her first day on the job. I know next to nothing about Wisconsin, new or old, or about living history sites, but I had no trouble f
Feb 12, 2015 Shana rated it liked it
Chloe Ellefson has landed a plume curatorial job at Old World Wisconsin. She has a rough start with a missing object, an accident, an upstart intern, a cranky boss and romance in the air.

The mystery of the bowl did not resolve as I would have anticipated, so that was a pleasant surprise. As a museum employee myself, I enjoyed the setting of a historic site in the 1980s, the research and the strong push for the interpretation of story above object!

Chloe's emotional journey and relationship with
Dec 27, 2010 Susan rated it liked it
Chloe Ellefson hasw just started her job as a curator at Old World Wisconsin, a state historical site comprising about fifty restored buildings. This is her ticket away from the heartbreak and depression that have marked her recent years. But on her first, overwhelmed day, she must turn away an elderly lady who seeks her help, only to find her dead in an automobile crash shortly afterward. The still-fragile Chloe meets a young police officer, who has his own history. He gradually becomes involve ...more
Jan 26, 2011 Carolyn rated it liked it
How could I resist this book with a title like "Old World Murder" I am a Wisconsin girl who has spent some interesting hours at the Old World Wisconsin site. I enjoyed reading about the area that I am so familiar with, however, I did not, as a whole, really love this book.
The main character drove me insane! She did incredibly stupid things and I kept thinking, "Wow, with all her supposed education, she's still so clueless!"
Also, is it too difficult for a writer to give us a good mystery without
Mar 10, 2011 Sandra rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-suspense, fb
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway and what a terrific read this book was! Chloe becomes a curator at Old World Wisconsin, a history museum dealing with the area's past. After an old lady looking for a missing heirloom winds up dead the suspense and enjoyment begins! I loved the cozy mystery elements this book had, interesting characters, a great locale, with log cabins and all!

If you're looking for a captivating and entertaining mystery with a great assortment of characters look no further
Dec 09, 2015 Beth rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
I think this is going to be an interesting series. I had some doubts for a while. Everyone in this story seems to be cranky, depressed, struggling to let their past stop ruining their future, unscrupulous, violent, messed up and/or a combination of any of these. Chloe is a likable heroine, but she's carrying some serious stuff from her past and she manages to get on the wrong side of several of her superiors and co-workers at Old World Wisconsin. They're a touchy, secretive bunch, some of whom a ...more
Nov 23, 2015 Kim rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, thriller, 2015
This was an interesting book I found on my kindle. To be honest, most of the time I had no real knowledge of what was going on. The details of the story are steeped in Norwegian history and culture, about which I know nothing. And who knew there were outdoor living museums of Scandinavian history in America? Well, there are.

The story is about a woman, Chloe, who starts working in said museum and is approached by a frantic old woman desperate to get a rosemalled ale bowl. Nope, I had no idea wha
Feb 06, 2016 Janice rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this first in a series that features a woman who works as a curator in an outdoor historic site. The characters are very likeable, both strong and fragile, and the story kept me engaged. I look forward to the next in this series.
Judy Goodnight
I read this book in anticipation of hearing the author speak at the Fox Cities Book Festival. (Marvelous presentation, by the way, and encouraged me to continue the series.)

Like others have written, I didn't particularly care for the main character, Chloe, at first. Her depression issues and "leave me alone" attitude were rather off-putting. After a while, I did warm up to her. The one thing I truly objected to was having the character NOT take her prescribed medication for depression. Those med
1.5/5.0 stars
I didn't really like this book. I felt the writing was super rudimentary and the dialogue was very disjointed; those two things bothered me all the way through. I rounded up to 2 stars instead of down to 1 for two reasons --- one, I was able to finish the book versus abandoning it; and two, the romance was a background story versus front and center (until the pukey end, that is). Both provide minor tick marks in the plus column. What did I actually full on like about the book? Well,
Jul 12, 2014 Patricia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
The title fooled me . . . old world meant Europe to me. Alas, it's the name of an outdoor historic site in Wisconsin. Chloe Ellefson is starting a new job and hopefully a new life but she has many demons and she has poor communication skills. A bad combination for a person who must work with other members of the staff.

The 'mystery' part is interesting and I learned a bit about historic sites and the artifacts displayed there. Chloe is a mess and I couldn't decide if she is brave or stupid.

The en
Feb 06, 2012 Laura rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I picked this book up because I work closely with a museum, and I was intrigued to see a fictional portrayal of life inside a small museum, complete with murder and mayhem. In this way, at least, I was not disappointed. Unlike the colorful thrillers of folks like Preston and Child (ala The Relic, Cabinet of Curiosities, etc.) this was much more museum and much less thriller. The setting felt eerily familiar, as did the relationships between characters. Unfortunately, I had an extremely difficult ...more
Jan 24, 2011 Katrina rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Adult Mystery Fans
Recommended to Katrina by: 2010 Literacy Awards Committee
Shelves: adult, mystery
You had me from page one. A really compelling story that kept the pages turning. The plot and setting is incredibly original (a curator of Old World Wisconsin!) I like Chloe's character and the subtle mystery of her past. She is funny, flawed, and makes you root for her the whole way. Officer McKenna is also a well written character, though he didn't help solve the mystery too much and his over-protection of Chloe started to get on my nerves. Luckily Chloe's extreme feminism helped to balance th ...more
Jun 04, 2011 Melodie rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2011
While the general story in this book was very well thought out and executed, I found the main character, Chloe Ellefson, totally unlikeable. As a general rule I don't like reading about characters with heavy depression problems. I've dealt with enough in my own life, first as a kid growing up with a mother who suffered from it terribly in a time when you just didn't talk about those things or see a psychiatrist and then developing the problem myself as a teenager. I felt the subject could have b ...more
Jan 15, 2013 Kathleen rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
If I hadn't been working backwards in the Chloe Ellefson series, and if I hadn't been intrigued (having read the third book in the series a few weeks ago) by author Kathleen Ernst's connecting historical research to a fictional mystery in the present, I might have stopped reading this first book a few chapters in. Too much talk of Chloe's lost love and five years of her life in Switzerland, too many self pitying, late night phone calls to her college friend, Ethan, too many times that she risked ...more
Nov 28, 2012 Linda rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery-crime
Former museum curator Kathleen Ernst has created a series protagonist with the same job in the same institution. Old World Murder opens with Chloe Elefson's first day on the job at Old World Wisconsin, a village style ethnic museum. Chloe is struggling to reestablish her career after a traumatic relationship breakup that left her in the grips of clinical depression, and she's determined to make this work. Much to her dismay, she gets off to a very shaky start, when an appointment with a former ...more
Paul Garrett
Nov 09, 2012 Paul Garrett rated it it was amazing
In Old World Murder, Kathleen Ernst depicts the usually-humdrum work of a museum curator and a policeman as they repeatedly encounter one another under unusual circumstances. Each carries emotional baggage and is confronted by professional problems. Each works for an institution that is underfunded and understaffed. Chloe Ellefson in addition faces professional antagonism (male) superiors Having worked in a similar position, I must say that Ernst depicts it perfectly.

Most of the novel is a myst
Apr 08, 2015 Elizabeth rated it liked it
This was a freebie for Kindle and it sounded good.

Although the main character, Chloe, was a bit of a stereotyped feminist seemingly without much depth, apparently this is the first in a series so hopefully, she'll become a more well rounded character as the series progresses.

The ending was a bit.... well, not very good in my opinion but I guess the author had to leave it like that so we would read the next book in the series which I probably will do.

I liked learning about Old World Wisconsin (th
Nov 12, 2010 Julia rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Shana
I thoroughly enjoyed this engrossing and well-written mystery. Chloe Ellefson returns home to Wisconsin and a position at Old World Wisconsin, a living history museum highlighting the area's past. An eldery woman, Mrs. Lundquist, is one of Chloe's first meetings as the new collections curator. She is looking to retreive an old family piece, a rosemaled ale bowl that she gave to the historical society years earlier. Chloe is new and faced with piles of items in storage, so she puts off Mrs. Lundq ...more
Jul 24, 2014 Cindy rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book. I liked the setting in the museum and I liked that it was able to surprise me. I thought I had it all figured out, but I was wrong! That doesn't happen often.

But the MC really bugged me. She was another one of those characters who ignore all the warnings to be safe, to stay out of danger, and of course, she got saved my the handsome cop at the last minute. Really? I also found the 1982 setting kind of odd. Don't know if I'll read more in this series or not.
Jan 28, 2014 Jules rated it liked it
I read the fourth book in this series first (a lucky find at the library), then started from the beginning. Because of that, I think I had way more patience for the main character. Other than some frustrations with the characters (remedied a bit by the last sentence!) I think the book is a solid mystery, and an easy, quick, good read. I appreciate the Scandinavian history and culture which is mixed in just right. I'll definitely be passing it along to my friends.
Mar 13, 2016 Sue rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, nook-book
A friend suggested this series written by a Madison WI author, Kathleen Ernst, who worked at Old World Wisconsin as Curator of Interpreters and Collections. I have a background in history education as well having worked as a historical site interpreter, so was drawn to the series. The books are set in the 1980's, therefore the reader has to keep that in mind when the main character, Chloe Ellefson is in danger and doesn't grab her cell phone! This first book gives a wonderful background into the ...more
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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 (6 books)
  • The Heirloom Murders (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery #2)
  • The Light Keeper's Legacy (Chloe Ellefson Mystery #3)
  • Heritage of Darkness (Chloe Ellefson Mystery #4)
  • Tradition of Deceit (Chloe Ellefson Mystery #5)
  • Death on the Prairie (Chloe Ellefson Mystery, #6)

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