The Final Flight is about a modern jet liner disappearing when flying from the Caribbean to Bermuda. The plane was carrying ten world famous impressionist masterpieces which were being returned home to Jimmy Morrison, a billionaire boss of the Paragon Corporation. Peter Talbert, fresh from his success solving the mystery of a terrible accident to a Super Jumbo at Heathrow, flies out to St Antony to help West Atlantic Airways find out what went wrong.
The European Aerospace 412 had taken off from St. Antony in the
Caribbean to deliver the priceless paintings and a cargo of freight to Bermuda but somehow the aircraft seemed to have gone in the wrong direction and flew into a hurricane. The automatic position reporting incredibly did not seem to agree with the actual position of the aircraft and 100 miles south of Bermuda the aircraft disappeared.
Peter Talbert visited the New York Oceanic Center and was horrified when he heard and saw the last messages from the aircraft. Meanwhile RAF Nimrods, United States search aircraft, a Royal Navy frigate and other boats were searching the Atlantic trying to find the crash recorders and the aircraft itself. Arriving in St. Antony Peter started to explore how the accident happened.
The firm insuring the paintings sent out Charlie Simpson, an expert art investigator to try to recover the paintings and she rapidly became convinced that the accident was 'too convenient'. Working separately at first and then gradually together Peter and Charlie begin to fathom out the true story. Irresistibly they are drawn closer together and finally, in Charlie's
bed for the first time, Peter suddenly realises what must have happened.
The reader is taken on to the flight deck of the lost aircraft as the story unfolds and only right at the very end is the amazing explanation revealed. This book is very cleverly constructed and technically right up to date. It is a worthy addition to the many mysteries in the Bermuda Triangle.
This is the second book in a series of
seven featuring Peter Talbert, insurance investigator. The other titles are
Blind Landing, The Right Choice, Flight to St Antony, Now You See it,
Java Waters Run
Deep. They will appeal to anyone who likes a mystery story as well as to the aviation enthusiast and followers of Peter Talbert will feel very much at home! People who have read one book have great difficulty not going on to read the rest.
An excellent mystery based on well-explained technical issues regarding air travel
West Atlantic Airways flight VP-WAL is flying from Bermuda to St Antony in the Caribbean when it suddenly disappears. There has a hurricane nearby, but the pilots were aware of it and their flight path was to keep them a safe distance from any disturbance. Before the plane disappeared, the messages from the pilots indicated some confusion regarding their position, although they appeared on the air traffic radar. No distress signal of any kind was received and immediately after the crash no debris was seen and there was no signal from the automatic flight recorder.
The plane contained a set of extremely valuable paintings (approximately $100 million), some very heavy but unspecified cargo, two pilots and two guards employed by the company insuring the paintings. This complicates matters; the value of the contents immediately raises the issue of potential fraud. Combined with the lack of debris, this makes the insurance company suspicious. Their response is to send a crack investigator, a woman named Charlie Simpson.
The equally crack aviation investigator Peter Talbert is also retained to investigate the disappearance, which leads to his working with the extremely attractive, intelligent and assertive Charlie. As the investigation begins, all possible scenarios seem impossible. The lack of debris, no signal from the flight recorder, a few anomalies in the flight of VP-WAL, and the general reliability of the equipment seem to generate nothing more than a list of dead-ends.
As the investigation continues, there is a growing attraction between Peter and Charlie, which begins to overwhelm their somewhat conflicting approach to the problem. Being the thorough and intelligent man he is, Peter goes through the evidence in a logical and sequential manner. When there are two failed attempts on his life, it becomes clear that someone has something to hide, which spurs him to greater efforts. Finally, Peter is able to deduce what happened and enlisting the aid of the local police, is able to prove it and resolve all outstanding uncertainties.
The clues are scattered throughout the text, one approximately every 20 pages or so. Most are technical in nature and related to the flying of a plane and the groundwork needed to support air traffic. What makes Blackman's books so enjoyable is that although the problem and solutions are based on the technical fundamentals of air travel, he makes them so clear that you can understand why an apparent anomaly is so significant. If you are a fan of mysteries based on technical foundations, then you will love this book.
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