A police officer and a museum curator each try to solve a separate murder case while maintaining their romantic relationship.
Chloe Ellefson and Roelke McKenna have come to an engagement party for Roelke’s former Milwaukee PD partner and close friend Rick Almirez. Roelke can tell that Chloe is not enjoying herself, and they part uneasily after returning home to Palmyra, where Roelke now works. Before the night is over, Roelke gets a call telling him Rick has been shot dead. Returning to Milwaukee, he discovers that Rick had been accused of drinking on the job. Roelke has such a bad feeling about the investigation that he gets a leave to investigate the killing on his own. Chloe, meanwhile, has gone to the Twin Cities, where her graduate school friend Ariel Grzegorczyk is having trouble coming up with the information she needs for a grant she’s working on for the Minnesota Historical Society to turn an abandoned flour mill—now a crumbling hulk, home to street people, drug dealers and prostitutes—into a museum. On a visit to the mill, Chloe and Ariel discover the body of industrial historian and professor Everett Whyte, Ariel’s Ph.D. adviser. Back in Milwaukee, evidence shows that the gun used to kill Rick came from the police evidence stores. Now Roelke trusts no one, especially after he’s shot at and almost killed. His only clue is a fugitive from domestic violence who worked at the bar where Rick was seen drinking. Violence against women also seems to be involved in Chloe’s investigation, as it is in a back story about Polish immigrants who worked in the mill from the 1870s to the 1920s.
The latest case for Chloe (Heritage of Darkness, 2013, etc.) provides informative historical facts, two good mysteries, and the trials and tribulations of a difficult relationship.