The Reservoir

By John Milliken Thompson
(Other Press (NY), Paperback, 9781590514443, 349pp.)

Publication Date: June 21, 2011

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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the July 2011 Indie Next List
“I couldn't put this book down. Based on real events in 1885, this is the story of the murder of Lillie, who was eight months pregnant when she was found floating face up in Richmond, Virginia's drinking water reservoir. Was it an accident, suicide, or something more sinister? The author captures not only the feeling of the time, when many legal procedures were far different than today, but also the timeless questions of trust and whether we can ever really know the true motivations of others, even those closest to us.”
-- Mary Kay Brunskill Cohen, Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, IL
Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Summer 2012 Reading Group


Description

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
climax.
   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.

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