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The Reservoirby John Milliken Thompson
Synopses & Reviews
On an early spring morning in Richmond, Virginia, in the year 1885, a young pregnant woman is found floating in the city reservoir. It appears that she has committed suicide, but there are curious clues at the scene that suggest foul play. The case attracts local attention, and an eccentric group of men collaborate to solve the crime. Detective Jack Wren lurks in the shadows, weaseling his way into the investigation and intimidating witnesses. Policeman Daniel Cincinnatus Richardson, on the brink of retirement, catches the case and relentlessly pursues it to its sorrowful conclusion. As the identity of the girl, Lillie, is revealed, her dark family history comes to light, and the investigation focuses on her tumultuous affair with Tommie Cluverius.
Tommie, an ambitious young lawyer, is the pride and joy of his family and the polar opposite of his brother Willie, a quiet, humble farmer. Though both men loved Lillie, it’s Tommie’s reckless affair that thrusts his family into the spotlight. With Lillie dead, Willie must decide how far to trust Tommie, and whether he ever understood him at all. Told through accumulating revelations, Tommie’s story finally ends in a riveting courtroom
Based on a true story, The Reservoir centers on a guilty and passionate love triangle composed of two very different brothers and one young, naive girl hiding an unspeakable secret. A novel of lust, betrayal, justice, and revenge, The Reservoir ultimately probes the question of whether we can really know the hearts and minds of others, even of those closest to us.
"Thompson (America's Historic Trails) fleshes out the bones of an actual 1885 murder case in his solidly entertaining first novel. When the body of a pregnant young white woman is found floating in a Richmond, Va., reservoir one cold March morning, she appears to have taken her own life. After she's identified as Lillian Madison, Police Justice Daniel Cincinnatus Richardson arrests Tommie Cluverius, Lillian's cousin, for murder. In flashbacks, Thompson reveals the links between Lillian and Tommie, an ambitious, mercurial fledgling lawyer, and Tommie's older brother, Willie, an earnest, steadfast farmer. Lillian is attracted to both, but falls for Tommie, who has his eye set on a more advantageous marriage. A tense trial ensues in which Willie is forced to measure his devotion to his brother against the various versions of events related by Tommie. The strong period setting lifts a somewhat prosaic tragedy. Author tour. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
John Milliken Thompson is the author of America’s Historic Trails and Wildlands of the Upper South, and coauthor of The Almanac of American History. His articles have appeared in Smithsonian, the Washington Post, National Geographic Traveler, and other publications, and his short stories have been published in Louisiana Literature, South Dakota Review, and many other literary journals. He has lived in the South all his life. This is his first novel.
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