Old friends: “Sterling Paisley”
Paisley Sterling is a character in one of my all-time favorite books, THE PAPER DETECTIVE by E. Joan Sims. I don’t know whether the author E. Joan Sims is still writing, but there are at least four other books in the Sterling Paisley series: Cemetery Silk 2005, The Plague Doctor 2005, The Poisoned Pen 2007, and The Cradle Robber 2007.
My 2005 review is another nugget from my old computer files.
THE PAPER DETECTIVE
By E. Joan Sims
Reviewed by Pat Browning
I opened THE PAPER DETECTIVE about midnight, thinking I’d take a quick look before going to bed. Four hours later I was still turning pages. I know better than to stay up all night, but I couldn’t rest until Paisley Sterling got out of her latest predicament.
This is the third book in the Paisley Sterling series, but my first to read. It has everything I needed and wanted in a book that night: characters I can like, a Southern tone and setting, a story with twists and turns.
Paisley is 42, with creaky knees and a contrary streak. She gets into dangerous situations more by accident than design. She’s back on the family farm after her husband’s disappearance during a revolution and her daughter Cassie is home from university for the Christmas holidays, all to the delight ofPaisley’s mother Anna, the eternal Southern Belle.
Paisley writes hard-boiled detective stories under the pen name of Leonard Paisley. No problem, until now. A phone call from her literary agent in New York seems more of an annoyance than anything, but it sets a nightmare in motion.
A magazine has offered $10,000 for an interview with “Leonard.” Paisley convinces retired police chief Bert Atkins to impersonate Leonard. Again, no problem, until certain nasty types read the published article, which includes a color photo of Bert “looking handsome and sleuthlike in his black turtleneck and tweed jacket.” Even worse, a PR klutz has posted a photo of Bert’s secluded lakeside cabin on a Web page.
When someone tries to kill Bert, Paisleyconcludes that her paper detective has a flesh-and-blood enemy. Her latest book was inspired by information left on the hard drive of a used computer bought by Cassie. Paisley’s reexamination of files on the disc sends her off to the army base outside of town. Before she can say “A-ha!” Bert has disappeared and she’s running for her life from members of a covert paramilitary operation.
I didn’t mind losing sleep to read this one. I’ll read it again and again, while I’m waiting for the next one in this lovely series.