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Upgrade? FM9 is six versions behind current now, well past end of life (9/2012), and really doesn't have any future for being supported (many developers will not even work on it for updates anymore, requiring an upgrade).
You may also want to consider hosting the file on filemaker server edition, which handles client crashes much better than self-opened or peer-to-peer hosted file.
As for your issue in general, it is occurring when you are using a 3rd party file format (PDF) and interacting with an external application (email). Either of those two things could be broke. Usually identifying what caused it involves tracing down the last time acrobat and outlook were updated, and rolling back the updates. You can try re-installing FileMaker itself after updating those programs, however there may be no solution to this issue.
One thing to think about is FM9 was all 32-bit. If you have 64-bit adobe or a 64-bit email client that could cause an issue. See if you can find 32-bit installers to match. And please, plan to update as soon as possible. There are so many good enhancement to filemaker since v9 it should be a no-brainer.
Thanks for your prompt response - I agree, an upgrade seems the best route to go.