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Some investigators believe that these prospects could have led to Paisley's suicide, or his disappearance. If so, the implications are tantalizing. Could Paisley have been a mole who thought he was about to be exposed? Was he murdered or spirited away by Soviet agents before he could be unmasked? That would not have been difficult: the Soviet embassy has an estate on the Corsica River, from which its large speedboats could easily reach Paisley's known cruising point near Hooper Island lighthouse in Chesapeake Bay. On the other hand, did the CIA arrange his murderor his disappearance to avoid the humiliation of having to admit publicly that it had been deceived by a double agent? Or was Paisley just a middle-aged man who had changed jobs and left his family and could not cope with those personal upheavals?
Whatever the truth, the Paisley case probably will remain one of those frustrating detective stories without a tidy ending. Unless, of course, John Arthur Paisley is still alive and some day reveals what really happened on the sloop Brillig 's final, fateful voyage.