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Pegasus (2015-09-15)
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Crime & mystery fiction


A Novel of Colonial America

by Smith, Donald

Set in a tumultuous period that helped to forge a nation, a riveting mystery that takes a volunteer constable through the wilds of colonial North Carolina to track down a shadowy killer.

When a traveling peddler discovers the murder of a farm family in colonial North Carolina whose bodies have been left in bizarre positions, circumstances point to an Indian attack. But Harry Woodyard, a young planter who is the volunteer constable of Craven County during a period in America's past when there was no professional police force, finds clues that seem to indicate otherwise. The county establishment wants to blame the crime on a former inhabitant, an elderly Indian who has suddenly reappeared in the vicinity like an old ghost. But he is a person to whom Harry owes much.

Defying the authorities, Harry goes off on his own to find the real killer. His investigation takes him up the Atlantic seacoast and turns into a hunt for even bigger quarry and more adventure then he ever dreamed possible. During his search for the truth about the murders, Harry learns that the eyes are not always to be trusted and people are not always as they seem.

Donald Smith is a Washington, D.C.-based writer, broadcaster, and radio-TV producer. His articles have appeared in The Atlantic, Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, National Geographic, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Chicago Tribune. He was executive co-producer of Radio Expeditions, the DuPont Award-winning National Geographic-National Public Radio production heard on NPR's Morning Edition. See his website for more information:

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Fans of Eliot Pattison’s Bone Rattler series (Soul of the Fire, etc.) will relish Smith’s impressive debut. Smith balances historical detail and a twisty whodunit plot like a veteran.

Review: Publishers Weekly (starred)

he Constable's Tale is a thrilling mystery set in Colonial America during the French and Indian War. With its intrepid detective, skillful plotting, colorful characters, action and rich period detail, Donald Smith's novel is sure to please fans of historical mystery.

Quote: Gary Inbinder

Rich with historical details and surprising turns, Donald Smith sends us on a thrilling journey through an America on the cusp of becoming a nation. The Constable's Tale, a story of murder, love and loyalty, is an outstanding debut.

Quote: Barbara Corrado Pope

Making his fiction debut, writer and broadcaster Smith has penned an atmospheric historical mystery.

Review: Library Journal

Historical fiction at its best. I have read many books about America’s history, but this blood-curdling murder-mystery, set in 18th century North-Carolina, with America at the brink of the Revolutionary War, taught me a lot. Stylish, exciting, and packed with historical insight.

Quote: Bob Van Laerhoven

Through detailed descriptions of characters and setting, readers can easily imagine early American life and its shifting governance. Compares well with the Bone Rattler series by Eliot Pattison or the Smithyman saga by David More.

Review: Booklist

Donald Smith’s exceptional first novel is a revelatory look at colonial America. In unmasking a villain, the investigation also provides insights into the surprisingly worldly ways of our colonial ancestors.

Review: New York Times Book Review

The constable's pursuit reveals the wily nature of Colonial American in a yarn that combines the hue and scope of James Fenimore Cooper with the taut suspense of Elmore Leonard.

Quote: John Smolens

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