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February 10, 2020 @ 7:00 pm
Jonathan F. Putnam
As in real life, Henry Trailor accuses his brothers Archibald and William of murdering Fisher, though mysteriously, Fisher’s body cannot be found. Why would a brother accuse his siblings if no murder victim can be located? The brother’s motive in real-life was never resolved, so the author creates an intriguing answer as Lincoln, his friend Joshua Speed, and a cast of other historical characters scrutinize the disappearance of Fisher in relation to various suspects who might have stolen gold meant for deposit in the Springfield branch of the Illinois State Bank. Among other economic reasons, finding the gold is imperative to fund jobs for desperate Irish workers to resume construction of the Illinois and Michigan Canal.
During the course of the novel, however, close friends Lincoln and Speed have difficulty working together to gather evidence for the case because both are vying for the attention of Mary Todd. They become resentful toward each other to the point of refusing to speak. As in real life, Mary Todd’s father had sent his daughter to Springfield to live with her oldest sister, Elizabeth Todd Edwards, to find a prosperous husband, as Elizabeth had done in marrying leading citizen Ninian Edwards, also characters in the book. Putnam’s characterization of Mary Todd is feisty and independent like the woman from history. Mary comes to prefer Lincoln over Speed in the novel, as in life, because Speed was not politically ambitious enough for Mary, who had she lived in our day, might have run for office herself.
A nationally known trial lawyer who graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Jonathan F. Putnam’s books in the Lincoln & Speed Mystery series include Final Resting Place (2018), Perish from the Earth (2017) and These Honored Dead (2016). Variety magazine has reported that a major TV series based on the novels is in the works. I have attached press materials and look forward to learning of your interest in introducing Jonathan and his engaging combination of history and mystery in A House Divided. Also, please let me know if you would like a review copy.
About the Author:
Jonathan F. Putnam is a writer and attorney. His books in the Lincoln and Speed Mystery series include Final Resting Place (2018), Perish from the Earth (2017) and These Honored Dead (2016). The fourth book in the series, A House Divided, will be published by Crooked Lane Books in July 2019. The books have been optioned for the screen, and Variety magazine has reported that a major TV series is in the works.
Jonathan’s Lincoln and Speed Mystery series has been a critical and commercial success. Book Reporter called the series “historical fiction at its finest,” while Suspense Magazine wrote that, “Putnam has done a great job of bringing the famous man alive … in this truly cool series.” Pulitzer Prize-winning Lincoln scholar Doris Kearns Goodwin said: “Splendid … one of the most enjoyable works of fiction I have read in a long time.” Historical Novels Review called These Honored Dead “wonderful historical fiction” and Perish from the Earth “well-plotted, compelling and exceptional.” Publishers Weekly praised These Honored Dead in a starred review. Shelf Pleasures called Perish from the Earth, “One of the best books I have read in a long time. I can’t recommend it highly enough… I’m certain you will be captivated by its raw and honest look at this part of American history and by the beauty of the language used to portray the people, both real and imaginary.”
Jonathan has given talks about Lincoln for civic groups, bookstores, libraries and lawyer groups all across the country. He has frequently been featured on TV and in print. He was chosen to narrate two episodes on the young Lincoln for the popular “10 American Presidents” podcast series.
Jonathan is also a nationally known trial lawyer. He was an equity partner at the New York City office of the leading international law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP, a firm he has been associated with since 1993. He specializes in representing companies and individuals in complex commercial litigation, often disputes involving intellectual property such as patents or trademarks. He has been the lead trial counsel in over a dozen trials, conducted around the country in front of juries, judges and professional arbitrators. His work as a lawyer has often been recognized by national legal publications, including The American Lawyer magazine, which named him one of the top 50 trial lawyers nationwide under the age of 45. He has also served in a number of leadership capacities at Kirkland & Ellis, including serving as the firm-wide hiring partner. Jonathan continues to work as an attorney at Kirkland.
Jonathan graduated from Harvard College in 1988 with honors with a degree in History and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1992. At Harvard Law School, he served on the Harvard Law Review and received the Fay Diploma for graduating first in his class. After graduation he worked as a law clerk to a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. before joining Kirkland & Ellis.
Jonathan has been active in a number of charitable causes relating to children and access to higher education for less fortunate kids. He serves on the Finance and Governance Committee of the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, a charity focused on helping to sustain independent booksellers. He is also the much-criticized commissioner of his family’s fantasy football league and a back-of-the-pack marathon runner, having completed marathons in New York, Chicago, London, Paris and Las Vegas. He and his wife, Christin Putnam, have three sons.