Donald Smith is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist and author. His articles have appeared in The Atlantic, Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, National Geographic magazine and website, and in major newspapers throughout the country, including The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Milwaukee Journal and Chicago Tribune.

Now available at booksellers from Pegasus Books:
The Constable's Tale
"...combines the hue and scope of James Fenimore Cooper with the taut suspense of Elmore Leonard."

Set in a tumultuous period that helped to forge a nation, a riveting mystery 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 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 evidence that indicates otherwiise.
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, and Harry is convinced of his innocence.

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 on the American continent..


“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.” New York Times Review of Books
“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.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Smith has spun a rollicking good yarn in his debut novel….  Sketches of life in 1759 are superb…. Top-notch historical fiction, authentic in character and setting, laced with a mystery and a bit of international intrigue, right up the whipsaw conclusion.” Kirkus Reviews

"Donald Smith delivers a captivating blend of political intrigue, mystery, and romance set during the closing months of the French and Indian War. Read it for its suspense, for its many surprises, and for its insight into early American colonial life. But read it foremost because Smith’s debut novel is a fast-paced romp, a beautifully spun tale. Gary Schanbacher, author of the Spur Award-winning Crossing Purgatory
"The Constable’s Tale is the best first novel I’ve read in a long while. Lyrical and tough and suspenseful and set in a time and place that’s been little explored in fiction, especially detective fiction, but which Donald Smith brings alive with clarity and vibrancy and a muscular authority. A first-rate novel.” James W. Hall, Edgar and Shamus award-winning author of the Thorn series of mystery/suspense novels 

“The constable's pursuit reveals the wily nature of colonial America in a yarn that combines the hue and scope of James Fenimore Cooper with the taut suspense of Elmore Leonard.” John Smolens, author of The Schoolmaster's Daughter

"Rich with historical details and surprising turns, Donald Smith sends us on a thrilling journey through an America on the cusp of being a nation. The Constable's Tale, a story of murder, love and loyalty, is an outstanding debut." Barbara Corrado Pope, author of The Missing Italian Girl and Cezanne's Quarry 

“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.” Bob Van Laerhoven, author of Baudelaire's Revenge

The 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.” Gary Inbinder, author of The Devil in Montmartre

With Inuit seal hunter on Ellesmere Island, Canada's Northwest Territories
As executive co-producer of Radio Expeditions, the Alfred I. duPont award-winning National Geographic - National Public Radio production heard on NPR's Morning Edition, Donald Smith was editorial director and chief writer for the acclaimed special weekly Radio Expeditions series "The Geographic Century" - great moments of exploration and discovery during the 20th century. Aired weekly on NPR stations. Before coming to National Geographic, he was White House correspondent for Congressional Quarterly, and executive producer of CQ's weekly Public Television program "Congressional Outlook," featuring looks at upcoming Capitol Hill issues. Currently he serves on the screening board of the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Radio-TV Awards Program.

He co-authored (with Bradford Washburn) On High: The Adventures of Legendary Mountaineer, Photographer, and Scientist Brad Washburn (National Geographic Books, 2002); and (with aviator Linda Finch) of No Limits, a biography of Amelia Earhart (1997, World Flight, Inc.).

Editorial praise for On High: “A charming biography/autobiography… In this volume, lucky readers get to experience the bounty of nearly 80 years of world travel, in Washburn's own telling of his many adventures and close calls, and through the words of noted adventure writer Donald Smith.” –Chicago Tribune

On assignment aboard "The Spirit of Massachusetts"

Beginning as a reporter for the Washington Evening Star, where he was proposed for a Pulitzer Prize, he subsequently was managing editor of The Washington Post Magazine, and then White House correspondent for Congressional Quarterly. From 1978 to 1999 he hosted "Report on Congress," a daily broadcast summary and analysis of congressional activities, on Washington's classical music station WGMS-FM.

As a National Geographic senior staff writer from 1987 to 1995, he roamed the world on assignment for the Society's News Service. His writings and photographs on the subjects of adventure, exploration and geopolitics were syndicated by the Associated Press and the New York Times Syndicate in newspapers and magazines worldwide.