by John H Williams
ISBN 0759605777 (0-7596-0577-7)
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Softcover, AuthorHouse, 2001
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Book summary: Probable Cause is a mystery novel with a suspenseful and twisting plot based upon an actual airline crash. Authoritatively written by a pilot, the story immediately establishes a serious moral dilemma for the principal character, an airline pilot that is a woman. It is the story of Captain Anne Ryan, an airline pilot in command of Coastal Airlines flight 193, a DC-9 that inexplicably crashes upon takeoff, killing 47 passengers and nearly herself. Was it an accident? A lengthy investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concludes that the cause of the crash was pilot error. Later evidence shows that Captain Ryan was under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash, and she is indicted for felony manslaughter. Crippled from grievous injuries suffered in the crash and guilt-ridden with the burden of 47 lives lost at her hands, she must prove her innocence of all charges or face a prison term. She believes that she's been set up, that the aircraft had been tampered with in a manner that leaves no trace, and that someone wanted her dead. But who? Why? The crash is the second fatal tragedy in a month plaguing the ailing airline, and the circumstances are remarkably similar. The first crash had claimed the lives of all aboard, including her friend, Captain Ray Thompson, and pilot error was cited as the cause of his crash as well. Yet had it not been for a last-minute switch of flight crews, at her request, Anne Ryan would have been in command of that flight.Was it also an accident? The notoriety of the two crashes causes financially stricken Coastal Airlines to at last succumb to a bargain-basement takeover engineered by its chief rival, TransCon Airlines. Anne Ryan's crash had tipped the balance, and the financial rewards accrue to TransCon's chief executive officer, Warner Edelbrock, Anne Ryan's former lover. But still more damning evidence surfaces, further frustrating Anne Ryan's frantic efforts to clear herself. The Securities and Exc
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