THE RESERVOIR

John Milliken Thompson

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.

more …

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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  • Other Press
  • Paperback
  • June 2011
  • 368 Pages
  • 9781590514443

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About John Milliken Thompson

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.

Praise

“Pitch-perfect to the post-Civil War era…This is an impressive first

novel…an artful vehicle for grappling with temptations and the

ambiguities of guilt….The Reservoir gets stronger and richer as it rolls toward its startling climax.”­Jim Lynch, Washington Post

“In this compelling novel, this superb writer instructs and enchants.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

The Reservoir is a complex first novel that is a simmering blend

of Southern tragedy, a love triangle, coming-of-age story, and crime

saga.”—Historical Novels Review

“John Milliken Thompson’s debut novel sings out with highly original

notes and harmonies. It is structurally and stylistically impressive,

morally engaging, and for all that masterfully entertaining. It makes an

indelible imprint.”—Southern Literary Review