Falling Off Air by Catherine Sampson

 

MysteryFalling Off Air by Catherine Sampson

Falling Off AirCatherine Sampson; Mysterious Press 2004WorldCat

Robin Ballantyne had a busy career as a television documentary producer but took time off as a single mom to her new twins. The twins’ father backed out of their life while she was pregnant and she is happy to make them her life during her extended materinity leave. Now it is time to consider returning to work.

One stormy evening she glances out to the rain just as a woman fell by her fourth story window. When she looked down the woman was on the street. She ran downstairs but knew the woman was beyond her help. She accidentally locked herself out in her rush but finally found a neighbor who was home and would open the door so she could call the police.

The dead woman, Paula Carmichael, had been an activist, often speaking in Parliament about family values and issues. Her charitable foundation was immensely powerful in its activities. Robin is pulled into the investigation because there are questions on whether the woman was murdered or committed suicide. It doesn’t help when Robin’s name is found in the woman’s journals. Now the police are looking at her possible involvement.

Robin returns to the Corporation, the company where she has worked for many years, and is shuffled off by the human resources administrator. She is offered a job out of production and in management that she doesn’t want. She also uses the time to investigate more into Paula’s life. When the twins’ father approaches her to see them, she reluctantly agrees. On his way to her flat, he is killed when a car hits him while he is crossing the street. Robin’s car is the one that hits him.

The clues and actions keep piling up. Robin is convicted for his murder in the press before she is ever arrested, let alone charged. She knows she has to discover what happened. What she doesn’t know is that she could get killed in the search.

Falling Off Air starts slowly and I almost put it down. But about a third of the way through I was finally caught up in it. By the last quarter the reader is sure Robin will not be able to extricate herself from all the circumstantial evidence against her. Catherine Sampson leads the story around through Robin’s first person narrative. There are enough red herrings to keep the reader guessing and a few leads that are connected and pull attention from the real murderer.

Any parent reading the novel will appreciate the scene when the twins’ father’s mother (their grandmother) shows up for the first time. She didn’t know she had grandchildren until her son was killed. The woman appears on one of those nights when everything goes wrong and you (Robin) just want your children out of the way. That is not a good impression for the babies’ grandmother to get the first time she sees them.

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