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Baden-Powell's Beads: Local author moves characters to London

Sara Evans and Paul Parsons

The historical mystery deepens surrounding the 24 Boy Scout beads that Lord Baden-Powell found on a battlefield in 1888 during the second Boer War and then years later distributed to the first Scoutmasters in 1919.

In the second of a four-book series penned by longtime Franklin orthopedic surgeon Paul Parsons, Parsons, the writer, transports his team of characters to modern day London.

Homeland Security agents Patrick Dartson and Adnan Fazeph, an orthopedic resident by the name of Dr. David Freeman and his girlfriend and nurse Pam Blanchard continue to entertain the readers and the author.

 “When I first got started, the story was going to be one book,” Parsons said recently of Baden-Powell’s Beads: London.
“As I got into it, I really didn’t want to let Patrick and Adnan go.”

Parsons chose to continue his writing, developing the intricate plots surrounding Lord Baden-Powell’s beads.
In this second release, the intrigue heightens as the characters grow.

Just when Dartson and his team thought they were safe after their deadly encounter with a band of Zulus, a beautiful but dangerous woman enters.

Cheri Hassen adeptly uses her beauty to distract just before she goes in for the kill.

When she tries to snatch the bead the Zulus tried so hard to take from Freeman, the group realizes Zulus aren’t the only people who want possession of the infamous beads.

In fact, a group of Arabs and a group of Rastafarians is also vying for them, and the Arabs are ahead with three beads already in their possession.

As Freeman and Blanchard head for London to find answers to nagging questions, this unusual investigative team meets Sir Wadley Crestmore.

He is the watchdog and caretaker of the beads.

Meanwhile, an Arab agent who has infiltrated the Scotland Yard seeks to do anything, including murder, to gain one more bead.

Once trust is earned, Sir Crestmore leads Freeman and Blanchard to a room hidden deep inside his mansion on the grounds of Gilwell Park, the site where Lord Baden-Powell distributed the Zulu beads in1919.

The room holds a secret to the beads dating back to the time of Moses.

Is that secret what makes the beads so valuable to so many, valuable enough to kill?

While researching the legendary beads, Parsons recalled it was a story about the Jews and the biblical Ark of the Covenant on the History Channel where he learned Baden-Powell’s beads were actually made from the same wood as the ark.

“That struck a cord,” he said. “This [story] could go back to the beginning of time.”

Parsons admitted he enjoys having at least two characters “almost joined at the hip.”

They know each other so well they can read one another’s mind in a dangerous situation, but operate the ease of yin and yang—a perfect combination for secret agents.

“[Patrick and Adnan] are this generation’s Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin (from the 1960’s television Cold War spy series The Man from U.N.C.L.E.)”, he said. “We don’t have that anymore.”

These Baden-Powell historic fiction thrillers combine fact and fiction, while introducing readers who may not have encountered Scouting to the man who founded the organization.

And as far as the beads—they are an integral part of Scouting tradition, Parsons explained.

Looking for a creative release from his intense career, Parsons decided several years ago to return to his alma mater—Dartmouth—to take a creative writing course.

With a few new skills and a head filled with ideas, he drafted his first novel.

That one still remains only a file on his computer, but it gave him the confidence to venture outside the box, where he said he discovered he could do more than write stories.

Before he became a published author, Parsons dabbled in songwriting.

In the 1990s, while vacationing in tropical St. Barts, Parsons was relaxing under a beach hut when the opportunity to sing one of his own songs presented itself.

That was when he drew the attention of another tourist—New York City singer and entertainer Ernie Barry.
Barry, known as The Man of a Thousand Songs, immediately made a deal with Parsons to add the song Yes Dear to his performance songbook.

Now 18 years later, the jazzy tune Yes Dear – “the only words that matter,” is the first cut on Barry’s new CD titled Moon Over Brooklyn.

Yes Dear—the words all married men know well—Parsons chose to write in jest … or was it?

MissyGirl Records out of Staten Island produced Barry’s CD, which has made Yes Dear a success on the Big Apple’s airwaves.

That snappy tune also recently earned Parsons the opportunity toopen for Tim McGraw at a private benefit show at the home of his longtime friend and colleague Dr. Paul Thomas.

“I can check that off my bucket list,” he said.

And recently, he was asked to perform during the nationally popular gathering of mystery writers in Nashville called “Killer Nashville.”

The huge literary conference last month, the brainchild of Franklin’s Clay Stafford, was another opportunity for Parsons to leave the surgical suite of Williamson Medical Center and head to the stage.

It appears Parsons may have new career options if he decides to retire.

The Baden-Powell books are available in print and e-book and may be found at Landmark Booksellers, Parnassus,, or at

Watch for book three, scheduled for release in February. It takes the team—down one member—to Ethiopia.

Paul Parsons performs “Yes Dear,” the first selection on New York City hit singer Ernie Barry’s “Moon Over Brooklyn,” to an audience of friends and neighbors at the home of Dr. Paul Thomas, his longtime colleague at Williamson Medical Center. Parsons also just released his second book Baden-Powell’s Beads: London.
Photo by Brandy Blanton 

Posted on: 9/11/2013


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