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Archive for June, 2015

Only One More Day for the True Crime E-book Sale!

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Explore the seamy side of Minnesota with these popular true crime titles from the Minnesota Historical Society Press, on sale for $3.99 through the month of June from your favorite e-book vendor.

9780873519939f

Stolen from the Garden: The Kidnapping of Virginia Piper

by William Swanson

On a July afternoon in 1972, two masked men waving guns abducted forty-nine-year-old Virginia Piper from the garden of her lakeside home in Orono, Minnesota.

Drawing on closely held government documents and exclusive interviews with family members, investigators, suspects, lawyers, and others intimately connected to the case, William Swanson provides the first comprehensive account of the sensational Piper kidnapping.

Sale price $3.99

Amazonbn.comGoogle, iTunesKobo




Secret Partners

Secret Partners: Big Tom Brown and the Barker Gang

by Tim Mahoney

Among the most dangerous criminals of the public enemies era was a man who has long hidden in history’s shadows: Tom Brown. In the early 1930s, while he was police chief of St. Paul, Minnesota, Brown became a secret partner of the infamous Barker gang. He profited from their violent crimes, he protected the gang from raids by the nascent FBI—and while he did all this, the gangsters gunned down cops and citizens in his hometown.

Sale price: $3.99

Amazonbn.com, Google iTunesKobo,


Augie\'s Secrets by Neal KarlenAugie’s Secrets: The Minneapolis Mob and the King of the Hennepin Strip

by Neal Karlen

A treasury of family secrets exposes the seamy underbelly of Minneapolis—gangsters, gambling, brothels, and the social life of organized crime.

Sale price $3.99

Amazon,    bn.com,    Google,    iTunes,    Kobo,




The Rockwell Heist by Bruce RubensteinThe Rockwell Heist: The Extraordinary Theft of Seven Norman Rockwell Paintings and a Phony Renoir—and the 20-Year Chase for Their Recovery from the Midwest through Europe and South America

by Bruce Rubenstein

When a small midwestern gallery is burgled, artworks by an American icon disappear into the international market for stolen art, but the gallery’s owners refuse to give up the search.

Sale price: $3.99

Amazon,    bn.com,    Google,    iTunes,    Kobo,



Black White BlueBlack White Blue: The Assassination of Patrolman Sackett

by William Swanson

A white police officer is assassinated in a troubled St. Paul neighborhood. Thirty-six year later, two African American grandfathers are convicted in controversial trials that force a city to relive a contentious past.

Sale price: $3.99

Amazon,   bn.com,    Google,    iTunes,    Kobo



Dial MDial M: The Murder of Carol Thompson

by William Swanson

A haunting re-creation of the brutal death of an American housewife, the conviction of her husband, and the family trial at which their children determined for themselves how their father should be charged.

Sale price: $3.99

Amazon,    bn.com,    Google,    iTunes,    Kobo




Crossing HoffaCrossing Hoffa: A Teamster’s Story

by Steven J. Harper

A forthright teamster faces off with Jimmy Hoffa in this true saga of corruption, betrayal, intrigue, and courage.

Sale price: $3.99

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Sharing Family History

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Sara DeLuca and her granddaughter Emma

Sara DeLuca and her granddaughter Emma

Today’s post is by Sara DeLuca, author of The Crops Look Good: News from a Midwestern Family Farm. Sara will be touring Wisconsin later this month. (Click on the title link for her event schedule, media interviews, and book club guide.)

From Sara:

This photo of me with my granddaughter, Emma Drury, was taken at Folsom House in Taylors Falls, Minnesota, on April 25, 2015.  We were celebrating the recent publication of my book,  The Crops Look Good: News from a Midwestern Family Farm. Based on a collection of family letters, the book is an intimate portrayal of family farm life in the region – first-person history, written as it was being lived. My mother’s letters to her eldest sister, beginning when she was seven and continuing throughout middle age, make a significant contribution to the story.

The Folsom House event on April 25 was very special to me, for several reasons.

Fifteen-year-old Emma planned and hosted my reading in this gracious home, built in 1855 by lumberman, historian, and Minnesota state senator W. H. C. Folsom. Five generations of the Folsom family occupied the house, which still contains their original furnishings, library, and personal effects. It is now operated by the Taylors Falls Historical Society, in partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society.

My parents, Harvey and Helen Hellerud, who farmed for decades in Polk County, Wisconsin, retired in 1976 and moved across the St. Croix River to Taylors Falls. As an accomplished pianist, my mother entertained Folsom House visitors on the Hews rectangular grand piano (shown in the background of this photo) on many occasions. She also served as a volunteer guide during the 1980s and 1990s. Her affiliation with the Taylors Falls Historical Society was a great joy to her during many productive years of retirement.

Now Helen Hellerud’s great-granddaughter Emma is volunteering at this beautifully preserved historic site. And I have enjoyed the privilege of sharing my book about a place that has been important to my family and history lovers throughout the Upper Midwest.

Here is a poem I wrote ten years ago, in recognition of a rich heritage, a craving for deep identity, and our interwoven lives.

Braiding Dandelions

We find a bright, prolific crops of dandelions

splashing the vacant lot behind my mother’s house.

She’s eighty-nine this spring, but she remembers being nine,

braiding yellow heads and milky stems, crowning

and necklacing herself with blooms.

Now she demonstrates for me

and for my grandchild Emma – six years old –

how you can braid an ornamental rope from flowers.

The trick, my mother says,

is working three stems at a time, all different lengths.

When one runs out you splice a new one in its place –

that way you never break the chain.

Emma plops down in the deep wet grass.

Mom squats.  I kneel

between the generations.

We laugh at rough beginnings, ragged endings,

but we persevere.  We practice,

practice till we get it right, Emma, Mom and me,

our heads bent low, lost

in a field of yellow tassels.


When our circles hold

we rise

and crown each other with our handiwork.


True Crime E-book Sale through June!

Friday, June 5th, 2015

9780873519472fStock up on summer reading with our true crime e-book sale during the month of June. Titles are available from your favorite e-book sellers!