The strange atmosphere in an old cabin almost ruins a relationship.
Chloe Ellefson is a curator of collections at Old World Wisconsin, a historic site; her boyfriend, Roelke McKenna, is a police officer in the nearby village of Eagle. Roelke bought his old family farm as a home to share with Chloe and plans to fix up the original cabin as her special place. But Chloe, who’s very sensitive to atmosphere, is horrified by the feeling she gets when she enters the cabin. At Old World Wisconsin, Chloe is so often in trouble with Ralph Petty, her nasty and ambitious boss, that she worries about keeping her job now that she’s helping Roelke with his mortgage. Meantime, she’s helping Bryon Cooke, the curator of interpretations, with his plans for some special Civil War programming. Bryon’s low-key plans involve a group of re-enactors he thinks will respect the solemnity of the period; Petty has contacted a group that will stage a big battle but are lax in their historical standards. When a body dressed in period clothing with no identification is found on one of the German farms, Roelke’s not sure whether his death is accident or murder. As Chloe looks to the past to explain her bad feeling about the cabin, a sad yet inspiring back story emerges. Although Roelke, initially indifferent to his ancestry, wonders whether he and Chloe are just too different to make a go of it, he becomes more sensitive to her interests as his investigation reveals more about his family’s history. It will take both of them to solve a crime rooted in the past.
Veteran Ernst (Death on the Prairie, 2015, etc.) provides a new perspective on the Civil War woven together with a compelling mystery.