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Brian Johnson for "Murder in Chisago County: The Unsolved Johnson Family Mystery"

  • SubText Books 6 West 5th Street St. Paul, MN 55102 (map)

Join SubText Books on Wednesday, June 26 at 7:00 PM for a reading with Brian Johnson for “Murder in Chisago County: The Unsolved Johnson Family Mystery.” Book signing to follow!


At 3:30 a.m. on April 11, 1933, neighbors and firefighters arrived at the farmhouse of Albin and Alvira Johnson to find a smoldering heap where a seemingly happy home once stood. Beneath the ruins, investigators found the bodies of Alvira and her seven children, but Albin’s remains were nowhere to be seen. The authorities determined that Alvira and the children were dead before the fire, and fingers immediately pointed to Albin. Hundreds of searchers, including the illustrious Pinkerton Agency, combed the area and even crossed into Canada in pursuit of Johnson, who was indicted in absentia for murder. But he was never found, dead or alive. What happened to the Johnson family and what part, if any, Albin played in the tragedy remain a mystery. Twin Cities journalist Brian Johnson tells the story that has beguiled the community for generations.

BRIAN JOHNSON, a Twin Cities journalist, has more than twenty-five years of experience as a reporter and editor. A longtime staff writer for a Minneapolis-based business publication, Johnson has won a number of awards from the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1989 with a major in journalism and a minor in Swedish. Johnson is a grand-nephew of Alvira Lundeen Johnson, who died with her seven children on April 11, 1933, in Harris, Minnesota. Johnson lives in Richfield, Minnesota, with his wife, Stephanie, and their four children.

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