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 perilous hunt for even bigger quarry that could affect the future of Britain in the American continent.
Donald Smith is a Washington, D.C.-based writer. His stories 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, and White House correspondent for Congressional Quarterly. See his website for more information: www.donaldsmith.net.
The Constable's Tale 4.8 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
I bought the hardcover copy of this book and read it twice. The characters were so fascinating that it was hard to put down. I'd love to see a sequel to this book because there are many unanswered questions about some of thse characters. Harry has a gift for finding answers and a tough background that he had to overcome to become the man he is. His wife Toby is a little racy for the times and has an independent streak that is especially admirable for the time. Comet Elijah is one of the biggest mysteries. Is he insane, is he a repository of knowledge from stretches of time beyond his age? You'll meet a fascinating French Courtesan who is another one of the mysteries. She is so much more than she appears. This is a book and author that I definitly recommend.
More than 1 year ago
I read with interest. Great action and interesting period in NC history.
More than 1 year ago
The Constable’s Tale by Donald Smith
New Bern, North Carolina, early 1700’s, around the time of the French and Indian War.
A man looking to open a Tinsmith’s shop in the town of New Bern in the North Carolina Colony happens upon a murder as he nears the town.
At the small plantation of the Campbell family, Edward Campbell, his wife Anne, and their adopted son Andrew, lie murdered; the bodies posed afterwards. Oddly enough the Campbell’s infant child is left alive.
Craven County Royal Constable James Henry Woodyard is in charge of the investigation. At first glance, the culprit or culprits appear to have been Native American. But the good Constable finds an expensive-looking Masonic medal and a map of Pamlico Sound under the baby’s crib. Now, he is not so sure it was a Native American.
Meanwhile an old Native American named Comet Elijah, who had help raise Woodyard, is discovered near the town and arrested for the murder. Woodyard cannot believe his old friend is guilty. He receives permission to pursue the Masonic Medal and leaves for Williamsburg, Virginia Colony to visit metal smiths.
Eventually the search for the owner of the Masonic Medal will send Constable Woodyard on a long chase and involves matters that could threaten Colonial America. The action is quick paced and smooth as the venue changes from New Bern to Williamsburg to Philadelphia to Boston and on to the front battle lines in Quebec. There are dangers and strange encounters along the way. And an extra twist at the end that is nothing short of a Masterpiece!
This was my first adventure with Constable Woodyard but I sincerely hope it won’t be the last. Mr. Donald Smith, my hat is off to you, Sir!
Definitely five stars out of five!
Quoth the Raven…
More than 1 year ago
Donald Smith in his new book, “The Constable’s Tale” published by Pegasus Books LLC gives us to A Novel of Colonial America.
From the back cover: 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.
I have never read a historical fiction story that took place in the late 1700s during the French and Indian War before. I had no idea of how a murder mystery set place then and there would work so I was intrigued as it seemed like a clever idea. Wow, let me assure you this is more than clever and it works so brilliantly. Royal Constable James Henry Woodyard is a regular person who happens to be a planter and then a part-time constable. He is a magnificent character and Mr. Smith builds him in such a manner that you believe his stubbornness as he sets off to find the real killer. “The Constable’s Tale” grabs you with the storyline and keeps you flipping pages as fast as possible. Don’t start this book late at night because you are going to want to finish it before you go to bed. A truly intriguing suspenseful thriller. I truly hope that Mr. Smith will give us more adventure with Royal Constable James Henry Woodyard.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Pegasus Books LLC. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
More than 1 year ago
The Constable’s Tale is a compelling and meticulously crafted historical fiction novel. Donald Smith crafts this eighteen-century story with numerous sharp and authentic details. I felt as if I was living during the 1700’s in early America instead of just reading about it.
Harry Woodyard, the Constable of Craven County in North Carolina, was troubled by the fact that the Indian, Comet Elijah, was the prime suspect in the murder of a local family, and jailed. Harry believed that the Indian, who had mentored him as a child, couldn’t possibly have had anything to do with such brutality. To track down the killer, though, Harry knew that he would have to leave Craven County without the judge’s consent. The consequences, of taking such an action, would probably cost him his position as Constable. He was also aware that proving Comet Elijah’s innocence could take months, which was something that the elderly Indian just didn’t have.
Harry left Craven County and his wife on what he hoped would not end up being just a wild goose chase. The clues led Harry to travel to Virginia first, Boston second, and then finally up to Quebec Canada where the French and Indian War was in full force.
The Constable’s Tale is a story of political intrigue, espionage, and war, as well as a story of love, betrayal and a bit of romance. The dialogue and characters in this book are both realistic and engaging. There wasn’t a boring page in the entire novel. I highly recommend reading The Constable’s Tale.
I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.
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