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  • Olivia Sanford

America’s Favorite President Involved in an Exciting Mystery

These Honored Dead

First book in the Lincoln and Speed Mystery Series

By Jonathan F. Putnam

Book Review by Southern Lit Alliance intern, Olivia Sanford

History, mystery, and one of America’s most loved presidents combined in a book are a rare treat. Jonathan Putnam combines all of that and more with his first book of the Lincoln and Speed Mystery Series, These Honored Dead. Putnam creates a mystery that will keep the reader guessing until the end of the novel and sheds light on a young Abraham Lincoln and his friend, Joshua Speed. Based on a true story, Putnam features Joshua Speed as he races the clock with newly appointed lawyer, Abraham Lincoln, to solve the murders of the newcomers of the town. The men have to find the killer before more innocent people are murdered.

Joshua Speed is a young man who has come into the potential ownership of a local shop, A. Y. Ellis & Co., in Springfield, Illinois. Speed quickly comes into contact with the new lawyer, Lincoln, who is in need of lodging. While hesitant at first, the men become roommates and quick friends. Speed has previously been involved with Widow Harrington in town, but the relationship has dissolved and the young store owner has yet to recover from their parting. When a murder of a young woman who has just arrived in town is committed, Speed’s life quickly becomes more complicated. Shortly after the murder, his younger, vibrant sister, Martha, arrives in town and Speed worries about her safety with a killer lose.

Speed and his unquenched love for the Widow Harrington become more complex when she is suspected of being the killed. Speed enlists his friend, Lincoln, to help the widow so she won’t fall victim to a crime she did not commit. While tensions rise and more murders shake the town of Springfield, the clock is ticking. Speed, Martha, and Lincoln have to get to the bottom of the case before more lives are taken and an innocent woman is convicted. After many leads fail, they find a shocking revelation.

Jonathan Putnam will be presenting “How the Young Lincoln Became Our Lincoln” and discuss his three books in the Lincoln and Speed Mystery Series, These Honored Dead, Perish the Earth, and Final Resting Place. His fourth book in the series will be released this summer. The event at Southern Lit Alliance will be on Saturday, March 2 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 and $5 for students ( student I.D. required.) For more information or to make your reservation, go to

Condensed from

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.

Jonathan is also a nationally renowned 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. 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. Jonathan continues to work as an attorney at Kirkland.

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