Award-winning author Kathleen Ernst will sign her new book, "Heritage of Darkness," at Vesterheim, the national Norwegian-American museum and heritage center, Thursday, Oct. 31, from 5-7 p.m. in the museum store.

"We're especially excited to invite Kathleen Ernst to Vesterheim, because her new mystery novel is set at the museum," Ken Koop, museum store manager, said.

"Heritage of Darkness" is the fourth in Ernst's "Chloe Ellefson Mystery" series. Chloe, the main character, is a curator at Old World Wisconsin and she continually runs into trouble in her world of history and artifacts.

The new novel

In this new novel, Chloe comes to Decorah with her mother and her beau to take a rosemaling class at Vesterheim. Tension abounds when there is a murder in the museum as soon as they arrive.

"As director I may be partial, but I've always considered Vesterheim a very exciting place-though perhaps never quite as exciting as in this tale of folk art and murder," museum Executive Director Steve Johnson says. "Few are above suspicion-not even the museum's director-in this totally captivating page-turner that also manages to celebrate the importance of heritage and tradition in our lives."

Other events

There will be other events with Ernst at Vesterheim this fall.

She is teaching a class with Darlene Fossum-Martin from Nov. 1-3. The class, "Holiday Food Traditions: Remembering, Writing, Tasting, Sharing," will include fun, reflective and imaginative writing activities and traditional holiday baking demonstrations.

"You will leave with lots of creative ideas for turning recipes and memories into cherished family gifts," Fossum-Martin said.

On Free First Thursday, Dec. 5, Ernst will give a "Chloe's World Tour" through the museum, highlighting the locations featured in "Heritage of Darkness." The free tour will begin in the lobby of the Main Building and guests are asked to gather at 9:50 a.m.

More info

For more information on the museum's exhibitions, classes, events, membership opportunities and ways to donate, check Vesterheim's website at, call 563-382-9681, or write to Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, 502 W. Water St., P.O. Box 379, Decorah, IA, 52101-0379.