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The Reservoir

3.30  ·  Rating details ·  1,204 ratings  ·  199 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 shado ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published June 21st 2011 by Other Press (first published January 1st 2011)
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Average rating 3.30  · 
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 ·  1,204 ratings  ·  199 reviews


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Lou
Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
There is is a noose waiting, waiting to tighten on a neck. That neck better be the killer of one stirred heart of a girl an expectant mother.
Stirred hearts, love and friendship. Many hearts wavered by one rather beautiful empty Heart, a web of family intrigue.
Justice is the key, the good should rise above the evil ideally as the common rule.
This story is one to be talked about for many years to come one I hold it highly up there with the greats of Human struggle, greats like 'To Kill a Mockingbi
...more
Jeanette (Again)
We'll never know if the real Tommie Cluverius killed his cousin Lillie. Available records make convincing arguments for both guilt and innocence. John Milliken Thompson has taken the bare bones of a real case from 1885 and filled in the meat of the story using his imagination and thorough research.

The body of a pregnant girl is found floating in a reservoir in Richmond, Virginia. The immediate assumption is suicide by a girl in trouble. But when the girl is identified as Lillian Madison, people
...more
Carol
Apr 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Carol by: Kate Henderson, Editor, Other Press
Shelves: fiction
Recently I attended The BooksontheNightstand Reading Retreat in Manchester, Vermont where I had the opportunity to meet and listen to author John Milliken Thompson talk about his forthcoming book, The Reservoir. If I hadn't heard John speak, The Reservoir might not have made it into my hands nor onto to our book shelves. What's the word? fate, serendipity, what ever you call it...I'm pleased I had the opportunity to read this excellent novel.

The Reservoir is being pitched as a mystery and that i
...more
Trish
Apr 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Reservoir is a debut novel and mystery drawn from a true story that was the sensation of 1885 in Richmond, VA. A young, unmarried, pregnant woman is drowned in the city reservoir, presumably by her paramour: a young lawyer on his way up who also happens to be her cousin. Newspaper records of the time whipped up a frenzied appreciation of the scandal among townspeople, who flocked to attend the trial. The accused was gifted in many ways…he could write well and spoke with conviction; he ke ...more
Lou
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: july-read, arc
There is is a noose waiting, waiting to tighten on a neck. That neck better be the killer of one stirred heart of a girl an expectant mother.

Stirred hearts, love and friendship.

Many hearts wavered by one rather beautiful empty Heart, a web of family intrigue.

Justice is the key, the good should rise above the evil ideally as the common rule.

This story is one to be talked about for many years to come one I hold it highly up there with the greats of Human struggle, greats like 'To Kill a Mockingbir
...more
Erin Forson
Dec 12, 2011 rated it did not like it
The Reservoir
John N. Thompson
Released June 21, 2011
The Story Line
Lillian Madison, a young, beautiful, unwed, and pregnant woman is found dead and floating in the reservoir. From the opening pages of the novel, the reader witnesses Thomas Cluverius stealing away from the scene of Lillian’s death, and thus begins the drama. At first, the reader may think they are to embark on a journey into the mind of a killer. Not so. Instead, this post-civil war drama is set mostly in the jailhouse and the cour
...more
Mary Ronan Drew
Jul 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
I no longer remember where I heard about this novel or what it was that made me want to read it. In any case, I requested it from the library and today I sat down to give it the Nancy Pearl treatment, reading the first 35 pages or so and expecting to then make a note in my database as to why I didn’t want to bother reading the whole book.

But it caught me. The story is based on the death of a young woman in Richmond, Virginia, in 1885. The author has researched the case in newspapers and other ma
...more
Paul
Apr 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Paul by: BOTNS Retreat
The body of a young pregnant woman is found floating in a reservoir in 1885 Richmond, Virginia. At first thought to be a suicide, the local police along with the coroner soon decide that this case did involve murder. Soon, a young man is charged and the action proceeds from this decision through a courtroom trial. Hmmm . . . a typical courtroom procedural, you say? Well, no. The thrust of this novelized version of an actual case is really to portray the country (and especially the South) twenty ...more
Julie Christine
Sep 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Julie Christine by: Jeanette, Chris
"On March 14, 1885, a body is floating in the old Marshall Reservoir, in a light snow, and then under a waxing moon." From its opening sentence, The Reservoir draws in the reader with harsh details rendered in shapely language. This is historical fiction at its entertaining, dramatic, and authentic best.

Historian and short story writer John Milliken Thompson read a paragraph in a history of Richmond, VA that sparked his curiosity. His research took him deep into 1880's Virginia, into the death
...more
Marie desJardins
Oct 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
I really did not like this book. I didn't particularly enjoy it as I was reading it, but I stuck it out because I wanted to know what had really happened and why Tommie didn't want to talk about it. (view spoiler) ...more
Blair
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2012
I was really excited about this book (setting in Richmond, mystery based on fact) and the first 1/4 of it seemed to live up to my mind's hype. There was just something lacking in it - character development maybe? You would read a page and feel like you knew who you were reading about and then the next page would throw you off. It was slow-moving, not a whole lot happened and I was left feeling unsettled and like I'd only read half a story. Maybe that was the author's intention, I don't know. It ...more
Carol
Jun 08, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: donate
Slow, not much substance. Sometimes boring.
Tj
Jun 24, 2011 rated it liked it
*Review first appeared at Skull Salad Reviews*

John Milliken Thompson’s debut historical mystery novel, The Reservoir (Other Press, 2011), starts off very promising. We are introduced to a pair of workers at a reservoir who find the body of a young pregnant woman floating lifeless in the water. This is a great set-up for a moody, atmospheric story. We have one character – one of the workers who found the body – fall into infatuation with this young lifeless woman. He takes some items from her tha
...more
Michelle
The Reservoir is one of those fascinating true-life mysteries that is fleshed out through fiction. A woman named Lillian was truly found dead in a reservoir in Richmond, Virigina and Tommie Cluverius did stand trial for her murder. Yet, the truth is stranger than fiction, as Mr. Thompson shares with his readers through this intriguing look at 1885 Richmond and a city that was struggling to recover its dignity after the end of the Civil War.

The key to the success behind The Reservoir is the metic
...more
Barb
This is a bit of a twist on the murder mystery. The first chapter opens on a pregnant Lillie Walker's dead body floating in the reservoir, then a few pages later we are taken back to the previous evening. Tommie Culverius is looking down on her in the water trying to puzzle out what to do with her hat and gloves.

I thought I knew what happened, it seemed obvious, but then John Milliken Thompson made the straight-forward a bit more complicated and gave Tommie Culverius a voice to tell the reader
...more
Amy
May 08, 2011 rated it liked it
The Reservoir is a historical novel that is built around a true story that took place in Richmond, Virginia in 1885. It is obvious that the author has done exhaustive research into the original case and into Richmond, VA in 1885. He brings both alive in vivid detail! Goodreads describes this book as "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." This is a re ...more
Chris
Apr 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011-reads
Fingers crossed that GR doesn't crash again as I'm writing this review!

First off, thank you to Katie Henderson of Other Press for handing me an uncorrected proof of this book at the BOTNS retreat. (She heard me whisper during Thompson’s talk that the book sounded really good!) And it was. Thompson is a gifted Southern writer and old fashioned, too. Slowly and methodically, he wove a story of guilt and innocence of a young attorney and left the reader wondering.

But this reader wasn’t buying Tom
...more
Sara
Jan 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
I was able to get this book through netgalley. Based on a true story.

One early Spring morning in Richmond, VA, in the year of 1885, a body of a young pregnant woman was found in the reservoir. The police believe she committed suicide but curious clues at the scene start to make them think otherwise.

I had a hard time putting this book down. It was so interesting and it made me want to read the court case that the book was based on. The author wrote the book beautifully. It's a amazing to see how
...more
Sherri
Jul 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Guilty or Innocent? Which version is the truth? Who is the liar? The author takes a real case from the 1800s and turns it into a novel. I hesitate to call it a mystery because it is never fully solved.

The basic parameters of the story are that a woman is found drowned in a reservoir in Richmond, Virginia. What initially appeared to be a suicide, quickly turned to a murder investigation. The woman, Lily, is 8 months pregnant. Her cousin, Thomas is eventually charged with murder. The book delves
...more
Becky
Aug 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookclub
Based a real 1880's court case, a pregnant woman is found dead in a reservoir outside of Richmond, Virginia. From the start, the finger is pointed at her cousin Tommie, with whom she was romantically interested. The first half of the novel is interesting, but as the novel continues, the trial becomes dull - and no new information is given to the reader. It is basically like reading the same novel twice, once from the character's point of view and then hearing it all again in court. When the nove ...more
Georgia
Nov 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a very haunting book. It doesn't leave you. You keep thinking about it. It begins with a body of a young, pregnant girl found floating in a resevoir near Richmond, Virginia. Tommie, a distant relative, is quickly apprehended. From there we enter his mind and feel his anxieties, his deliberations, his excuses, his thoughts. The evidence points to him, but did he do it? This is the question that is asked from the beginning. This book is written in a gentle, southerly, simplistic way but pa ...more
Darcia Helle
The Reservoir is a well researched, intriguing story based on a real crime back in the late 1800s. I found the story interesting but I just couldn't get lost in it. The writing kept me slightly removed. I felt like I was being told a great story, rather than experiencing one. Also, the author jumps back and forth in time without any clear indication. I often found myself reading a scene I thought to be in the present, only to realize several paragraphs later that we'd jumped back into the past. ...more
Laureen Hyman
Sep 27, 2013 rated it liked it
It kept my interest and it was entertaining to read about Richmond, VA, when it was still a new city, but the last half of the book dragged a bit and it was pure speculation about what happened with the crime itself.
Brenda
May 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Review to follow on our blog. http://simplepleasuresbooks.wordpress...
Very compelling read! Just selected as an "Okra Pick" by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance.
...more
Amy Meyer
Jul 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Reservoir by John Milliken Thompson


ISBN: 978-159051444-3
Pages: 368
Release Date: June 21, 2011
Publisher: Other Press
Genre: Contemporary Fiction; Historical Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5


Book Summary: 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
...more
Marythios (AkaSusanne )
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
John Milliken Thompson took the bare bones information from a real case from 1885. A pregnant girl is found floating in the water in Richmond Virginia. The girl is Lillian Madison and her cousin Tommy Cluverious is accused of the murder after people come forward with information. John did a great job researching this book and filling in the pieces to bring this case alive and fill in the pieces of what happened to Lillian. You wax and wane between Tommy's innocence and guilt. He is a likeable gu ...more
Bayneeta
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Came across this book as a recommendation at the end of another audio book. Both are part of Recorded Books' Southern Voices series, and this one is narrated by Tom Stechschulte, a favorite of mine. Virginia, 1885. A young woman drowns in the reservoir and in pretty short order her cousin is arrested and tried for her murder. I really did get caught up in the story and the characters. The audio was not available within my library system, but it was well worth it to me to pay the small ILL fee to ...more
Steven
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is my first post-Civil War novel and I was sucked in right from the beginning. I enjoyed the characters, the setting, and the unique story structure. This is not a whodunnit novel. The tension comes from elsewhere. How do you collect evidence without photographs? The only recording device here is human memory. How limited can that be? What a detailed and creative possible retelling of a famous court case. This novel reminds me that it's usually impossible to determine the whole truth of any ...more
Kathleen
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
2-1/2 stars

As I read this book, I kept wondering when the characters would seem compelling, and when their story would matter to me. I got to the end, and it had never happened. I don't know why. I suppose the book was well-written technically speaking, and it seemed well-researched. But I couldn't relate to or feel for these characters. Once I finished, I wondered why I had read it at all. This one won't stay with me at all. That happens.
Vicki
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is based on a real court case in the Richmond area. I thought it was great, really held my interest and was very thought provoking. It covered a lot of different moral quandaries. Great writing of historical fiction!
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John Milliken Thompson is the author of America’s Historic Trails and Wildlands of the Upper South, and coauthor of The National Geographic Almanac of American History. His articles have appeared in Smithsonian, Washington Post, Islands,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 t ...more

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