Review: Boston television investigative reporter Charlotte "Charlie" McNally takes on the trade in designer fashions, bags, and accessories in Air Time, the third mystery in this series by Hank Phillippi Ryan.
Faux fashion is big business in the US. There's nothing inherently illegal about it unless the manufacturer is using a trademarked logo or name of someone else on the finished product. That's illegal. Charlie is doing a story on the industry, but misses her flight to Boston from Baltimore, where she's been attending a national journalism convention. While waiting for the next flight, she helps a young woman with her luggage, noting its prominent designer label. Charlie also sees the woman is carrying a designer purse. The woman sees Charlie admiring her bag, and gives her a card, inviting her to a "purse party" where "Designer Doubles" are featured. Charlie realizes that she has an opportunity to get an inside scoop, going undercover at the party pretending to be someone in need of the latest fashion but wants one at a bargain price. Someone discovers who she really is, however, and she begins to receive threats by phone and e-mail. Then the apartment adjacent to the "Designer Doubles" location is set on fire, and the host disappears. Charlie's simple piece on designer fraud has now expanded to conspiracy, kidnapping, arson, extortion, grand larceny, as well as counterfeiting. How did she find herself in such a complicated journalistic situation?
In addition to the entertaining and well developed primary storyline, Air Time continues to explore Charlie's personal relationship with Josh and his young daughter. Though she's a career woman through and through, Josh wants a commitment, and she'd like to come up with a solution that will allow her to balance both. But what really makes the book enjoyable is Charlie herself: she's attractive, witty, caring, loving, and very good at what she does. Insert this appealing character into a fast-paced topical story and the result is a book that is hard to put down until Charlie files her story with Channel 3 News.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Air Time.
Acknowledgment: Nancy Berland Public Relations provided a copy of Air Time for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Harlequin (Mass Market Paperback), October 2007
ISBN-13: 9780373881437; ISBN-10: 0373881436
Mira Books (Mass Market Paperback), February 2010
ISBN-13: 9780778327974; ISBN-10: 0778327973
Location(s) referenced in Air Time: Boston, Massachusetts
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Air Time by Hank Phillippi Ryan — A Charlotte McNally Mystery
Publisher: Mira Books
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Publication Date: September 2009
List Price: $7.99