A curator and a cop team up to solve a murder.
Chloe Ellefson, collections curator for Old World Wisconsin, has worked with local cop Roelke McKenna once before (Old World Murder, 2010), but this time they have a much more difficult task. Their budding romance is suffering from the arrival of Chloe’s old lover from Switzerland. He had dumped her after her miscarriage but now he wants to make amends. Meanwhile, Roelke is called to the scene of Bonnie Sabatola’s suicide, but something does not feel right to him. Chloe’s friend Dellyn Burke, who is Bonnie’s sister, has asked Chloe for help with the vast collection of historic artifacts her parents had intended to leave to the Eagle Historical Society. Now Chloe feels obligated not only to help Dellyn separate the wheat from the chaff, but also to support her as she deals with her sister’s death. Dellyn jokingly suggests that perhaps they will discover the Eagle Diamond, which was dug up in the area and later stolen from a museum. Chloe’s research on the diamond indicates that it’s something of a will-o-the-wisp, but when she is brutally attacked in Dellyn’s barn she begins to suspect that it really exists. There is indeed an heirloom that is provoking murder, but it’s a lot more complex than a missing diamond.
Complex characterization and a stronger mystery make Ernst’s second more likely to appeal to a broader audience than her debut, which got by largely on interesting historical tidbits still happily in evidence here.