Goodreads blurb: On the night of 22 December 1980, a plane crashes on the Franco-Swiss border and is engulfed in flames. 168 out of 169 passengers are killed instantly. The miraculous sole survivor is a three-month-old baby girl. Two families, one rich, the other poor, step forward to claim her, sparking an investigation that will last for almost two decades. Is she Lyse-Rose or Emilie?
Eighteen years later, having failed to discover the truth, private detective Credule Grand-Duc plans to take his own life, but not before placing an account of his investigation in the girl’s hands. But, as he sits at his desk about to pull the trigger, he uncovers a secret that changes everything – then is killed before he can breathe a word of it to anyone…
Now with a blurb like that this book promised to be quite the mystery thriller and while it doesn’t quite fall into the ‘edge-of-the-seat’ type of thriller, this book is more than quite a competently written mystery for sure. And what’s more it belongs to the European thriller genre of which I have quite recently become a reasonably big fan of.
The author uses the journal of Credule Grand Duc in which he tries to reconstruct his eighteen year old investigation into the crash and the mystery behind the sole survivor, Lylie (a smart polyphonic reconstruct of the two possibilities, Lyle-Rose and Emilie) and who her actual parents are. This method of storytelling, in my opinion, works quite well for this book as it spans more than quite a few years in its scope.
Marc Vitral, Emilie’s elder brother is given the Grand Duc’s journal by her on her eighteenth birthday with instructions that he read it only after she leaves the restaurant where they are meeting. This sets Marc on quite the journey, metaphorically where he follows the Grand Duc’s trail of investigation over the past decade and a half, and literally where he makes his way to the Carville residence to get some much needed answers. As if this weren’t enough, Malvina Carville, Lyse-Rose’s elder sister is on a journey of her own to get some answers from the Grand Duc and get him to justify her entire childhood which had been put out of gear due to the crash itself.
Who is the sole survivor of the crash? Lyse-Rose Carville or Emilie Vitral? Which family does she belong to? These are the questions that form the heart and soul of this well written book. And the answer eludes even somebody as competent and methodical as the Grand Duc until the very last moment when he has quite the epiphany.
Read this book if you want to go down on a journey of two disturbed families, two extremely disturbed ‘siblings’ of the sole survivor with completely different personalities, one crazy hard-nosed methodical investigator who is determined to do whatever it takes to get to the very heart of the mystery.
A review copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers in return for an honest and unbiased review of the same.