Stolen from the Garden: The Kidnapping of Virginia Piper

Until I had the privilege of editing William Swanson’s gripping new book on the Piper kidnapping, Virginia Piper was nothing more than the name of the clinic where I get my yearly mammograms. I moved to Minnesota in 1988, and I was unaware of the sensational 1972 crime, even though it had made national headlines. The Virginia Piper Breast Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, its pleasant waiting room filled with crystal candy bowls, porcelain tea cups, and an imposing oil painting of its beautiful (and beautifully coiffed) benefactress, seemed pretty far removed from an FBI manhunt and a million-dollar ransom. But it’s just such a juxtaposition — a charming, unflappable, upper-crust heroine, her wily, lowbrow kidnappers, and a series of FBI agents hot on their trail — as well as Bill’s riveting minute-by-minute account that makes Stolen from the Garden a fascinating and entertaining read.

Bill is speaking tonight (Nov. 11) at the Minnesota History Center. More information here. You can read an interview with Bill in Minn Post here.

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2 Responses to Stolen from the Garden: The Kidnapping of Virginia Piper

  1. Amy Gage says:

    I had the pleasure of working with (and learning from) Bill some years ago when we were both senior editors at MSP Communications. He made me a better writer — and, specifically, a more conscious and conscientious magazine writer. I’m eager to read his new book.

  2. Paul Froiland says:

    Stolen from the Garden is an outstanding book, the best Bill has written, and the editing is perfection itself if Laura did it.

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