suspense novel, David Downie

The Gardener of Eden, the new suspense novel by David Downie

The Gardener of Eden marks my literary debut, a haunting and luminous novel of suspense. The story’s antihero, James, discovers dark secrets lurking beneath the stunning natural beauty of a dying timber town somewhere in California or the Pacific Northwest. Love, lust, revenge and murder transform the idyllic Eden Resort into a vision of Hell.

The Gardener of Eden is a novel of great originality” enthuses Elizabeth McKenzie, author of The Portable Veblen, longlisted for the National Book Award, “lively, engaging, unexpected, sharp, and poetic. Downie is a master of the eerie and bizarre, and his character Beverley is one of the great literary creations of the century.”

“In The Gardener of Eden,” says Patricia Bracewell, author of the Emma of Normandy trilogy, “David Downie evokes the fierce beauty of America’s northwest coast, peoples it with an assortment of appropriately offbeat characters and plunges them into a mystery that is pitch-perfect for the time and place. A compelling read that is more than a little ominous.”

Click to read more about The Gardener of Eden from the Pegasus Books catalogue.

Media contacts

For info and interviews about THE GARDENER OF EDEN or Paris to the Pyrenees: Jessica Case at Pegasus Books: jessica@pegasusbooks.us.

A Taste of Paris: A History of the Parisian Love Affair with Food or A Passion for Paris contact Kathryn Hough Kathryn.Hough@stmartins.com

For book, speaking, and movie rights questions, please contact my agent, Alice Martell: afmartell@themartellagency.com.

Please email me: dddownie@gmail.com





In recent years I’ve written several memoirs about Paris. My latest is A Taste of Paris, an entertaining romp and treasure hunt to discover and uncover everything you ever wanted to know about the City of Light and the Parisian love affair with food and wine…

Click to listen to NPR’s Paris correspondent Eleanor Beardsley on A Taste of Paris and How the City of Light became the City of Food

A Taste of Paris won the 2017 Gourmand Award for best food/travel book from the USA… food-loving, Paris-loving friends rejoice!

D06 – Culinary Travel / Tourism
USA – A taste of Paris, David Downie (St Martins)

Praise for A Taste of Paris: A History of the Parisian Love Affair with Food

A Taste of Paris took me on the walk I have always dreamed of: a joyous romp through time with culinary historian and literary gastronome David Downie as my guide! The streets and tables of Paris will never be the same and I could not be more grateful.”—Alice Waters

“A veritable encyclopedia of everything you ever wanted to know about the Parisians and their victuals. This literary tour de force turns received wisdom on its head, sprinkling the serious subject of what, when, where and how the French have eaten throughout history with many a great moment of humor and irreverence. I loved it!”–Harriet Welty Rochefort, author of Joie de Vivre and French Toast

“Truly epic, encompassing history, flavor, and passion. Bravo for a comprehensive look at eating and dining in Paris!”–David Lebovitz, author of My Paris Kitchen and The Sweet Life in Paris

“In recent years David Downie has become the go-to-guy for all matters Parisienne. In “A Taste For Paris” he combines his love of history, his affection for his adopted city and his passion for French gastronomy. Anyone who loves Paris (who doesn’t?) and adores French cooking (who can resist it?) will cherish this authoritative book.”– Paula Wolfert, national treasure, author of Unforgettable Paula and The Cooking of Southwest France

“A delightful treat for your favorite Francophile foodie . . . an enchanting fluffy read with lots of hints and tips for lovers of Paris and French food.” ―Epicurious.com

“Downie tells many tales of fascinating episodes in French history. . . . A gastronomic jaunt through the city that tells how Paris distinguished itself as a world capital of eating.” ―Eleanor Beardsley, NPR’s Paris Correspondent

“Given the French influence over the way we eat and cook (or aspire to do so), the historical details in Downie’s book are fascinating (who knew that Charlemagne loved arugula?), even though it’s unlikely that you’ll be motivated to prepare the recipe of the famous 14th century chef Taillevent for roast peacock or swan.” ―AimeeLee Ball, Martha Stewart.com

“Downie blends exhaustive research and personal experience in this delightful history of one of the culinary capitals of the world…Readers don’t have to be foodies to get the flavor of the French character in this delightful, thoroughly researched culinary history.” Publishers Weekly

“A great companion for any French adventurer as well as historians and food buffs” Library Journal

“A zesty, entertaining romp through the landscape of French food.” Kirkus

“A must for anyone going to Paris and anyone with an interest in food and history.” Linda Pelaccio, Heritage Radio Network’s A Taste of the Past

“With humor and wit, Downie delves into the city’s culinary history, sharing fascinating anecdotes… A Taste of Paris is written in a fun, lively style, bringing to life thousands of years of history, while also elaborating on contemporary culinary trends… an indispensable guide to the past, present, and future in a city that’s often deemed a global food capital.” Janet Hulstrand, Bonjour Paris

Listen to David in conversation about A Taste of Paris with fellow author and legendary NPR radio host Jacki Lyden at Politics & Prose bookstore in Washington, DC.

Other Recent Releases:

A Passion for Paris: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light.

Already in bookstores everywhere, a passionate romp among the earthy roots of Paris’ great romantic heritage: A Passion for Paris: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light.



A Passion for Paris: Romanticism and Romance in the City of Light.

A unique combination of memoir, history, and travelogue, this is author David Downie’s irreverent quest to uncover why Paris is the world’s most romantic city—and has been for over 150 years.


“[I]ntrepidly researched, entrancingly descriptive, ruminative, funny, and revealing… provocative… exquisitely written… a gorgeously discursive and affecting homage to Paris’ ‘great Romantics,’ and to the city itself, redolent with art, literature, and longing.”— Donna Seaman, BOOKLIST starred review

“Downie is the consummate guide… encyclopedic knowledge of the city and its magical story. Anyone who loves Paris will adore this joyful book.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Wickedly humorous… exquisitely told… a must-read for true Paris lovers.”-Harriet Welty Rochefort, author of Joie de Vivre

“Wildly entertaining, operatic… seems to offer up a whole new Paris.”-Penelope Rowlands, author of Paris was Ours

“Wholly original… a love letter, but also a carefully considered précis on an enduring theme. This is the book Downie was clearly meant to write. Bravo!”—Barrie Kerper, author of The Collector Traveler series

“Getting to Paris is easy, but getting into it takes a David Downie. With fork, sturdy shoes and boundless curiosity, Downie probes deeply. And then with wit and enthusiasm, he serves it up masterfully.”—Mort Rosenblum, author of A Goose from Toulouse and Mission to Civilize: The French Way.

Watch David talking on KATU-TV in Portland about A Passion for Paris

Order from your local indie bookstore or IndieBound on line. Other on-line sources if you must

Contact Kathryn Hough (print and broadcast media) or Alastair Hayes (electronic media).


More print and e-books – each with striking photography by  Alison Harris – are the critically acclaimed Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light (now into its 11th printing and also available as an audiobook) and the bestselling Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptical Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James. Part adventure story, part personal memoir Paris to the Pyrenees is pure quirkiness and irreverence.

“An entertaining read… fabulous company!”—Jacki Lyden, NPR’s All Things Considered

Listen to an interview with NPR’s legendary radio host Jacki Lyden about the book and our adventure.

Listen to David while he’s walking across Paris on the pilgrimage route with NPR’s Paris correspondent Eleanor Beardsley.



The surprise bestseller

My  latest adventure tale-cum- travel memoir is Paris to the Pyrenees: A Skeptic Pilgrim Walks the Way of Saint James.  

Part adventure story, part cultural history the author of Paris, Paris: Journey into the  City of Light explores  the phenomenon of pilgrimage  along the age-old Way of Saint James in France. 

Read more

Watch David interviewed on TV about Paris to the Pyrenees.

Listen to David talking to Sheila Hamilton of “Speaking Freely” on KINK FM in Portland about Paris to the Pyrenees.

On another front: my food/wine and travel books include Food Wine Rome (now also an app, see below…) and Food Wine Burgundy, plus Quiet Corners of Rome, and the classic Enchanted Liguria. All four will be out soon as e-books.


My thriller Paris City of Night  is now an e-book published by Pegasus Classics–see my blog posts or the book page for details. The long-awaited audiobook version of Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light, the perennial little book of essays that could, finally arrived. It was worth the wait.

Do you love Paris? Don’t miss my Paris app: David Downie’s Paris Timeline. It gives you hundreds of highly illustrated short takes on key Dates in Paris from 8000 BC to the present, plus key People, Places and Events. This is more than a Wikipedia-style history app: it’s 100-percent Paris with lots of surprising details and a distinctly unconventional point of view.



David Downie’s Paris Time Line brings Paris alive, and David Downie’s Food Wine Rome brings the best of Rome to your table. 

The Paris Time Line is much more than a Wikipedia-style listing. It features Paris and Paris alone and goes into places revealing details you’ll find nowhere else.

Read more

Travel and food writing and my addiction to history and perambulation have spawned a parallel activity: custom walking tours of Paris, Burgundy, Rome and the Italian Riviera

Looking forward to meeting you on the page or on the pavement,

David D. Downie

Biographical sketch


David D. Downie is a San Franciscan who moved to Paris in the 1980s and divides his time between France and Italy. His travel, food and arts features have appeared in over 50 magazines and newspapers worldwide. He’s the author of thirteen nonfiction books, two thrillers, and two history, travel and food/wine apps.

Take a custom tour of Paris with David and Alison Harris.

“David, you and Alison did a fabulous job with our motley group. We came for the food and devoured the history! We were dazzled by your encyclopedic knowledge of everything from Frankish kings to Frank Gehry’s architecture. We will definitely be back for a second helping!”—Laurie Petersen et al

“David Downie is the master of educated curiosity.”—Michael Ondaatje

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