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Mystery Review     


Cemetery Silk
by E. Joan Sims
Wildside Press, 2002
hardcover $26.57 (240p)
ISBN: 1587155532

“Cemetery Silk” refers to the permanent flowers that people choose to use at gravesites as an easy substitution for the real thing.  E. Joan Sims in her debut book of the Paisley Sterling Mystery series has crafted an intense page-turner about the suspicious death of an elderly couple.  The heroine at the funeral, notices the attentive neighbors have a nice front lawn, while the backyard is in shambles with the carcass of an abused dog.   Like the “Cemetery Silk” at gravesites, these neighbors look real from a distance, but present another side up close. 

Paisley Sterling DeLeon and her college-age daughter Cassie return to the family farm in Kentucky for the funeral and to check on her mother Anna.  When the will is processed, it becomes apparent that their cousin had more money than his lifestyle displayed.  His accountant and neighbor Ernest Dibber knew it, and before Cousin William’s death, he had signed power of attorney and left the major portion of the estate to Ernest Dibber.   

Former children’s book author, Paisley decides to try her skills writing a mystery using her cousin’s death as the foundation.  The Sterling women investigate the deaths of both cousins, the Dibbers, and interview those who knew them.  Their fictional account becomes a bestseller.  But fiction is a little too close to truth, and the Dibbers sue Paisley for slander and plan to take the farm.   The only option is to prove the book is non-fiction and very true. 

Moments of humor, family and small town character fill Cemetery Silk.  Anna is a classic Southern Diva as she rules the farm and commands the local law in her presence.  Cassie is the Femme Fatale as she romances the local deputy, then moves on to men in the jet set.  Paisley is the glue that holds them together and through her grit, works to resolve all their problems.  The energy when the three Sterling women are together is combustible.   

Cemetery Silk reads like a blend of Southern Gothic and down-home living, and will have the reader eager for the next Paisley Sterling Mystery.    

Visit E. Joan Sims web site at .


Joyce Dixon
Southern Scribe Reviews


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