“This old-fashioned crime novel by a French geography professor considers the miraculous survival of a three-month-old infant girl in an airplane crash in the Jura Mountains in which all perished -- including a second three-month-old baby. An 18-year struggle is unleashed between two rival sets of grandparents on opposite ends of the economic scale, one of which is accorded custody of the child. Does she really belong to that family? Is her brother really her brother? As the age of majority of the survivor approaches, the questions become more urgent and the private detective who has been on the case for 18 years tries to bring some closure.”
Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common
"Wonderfully ingenious and altogether satisfying."---Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review
Just after midnight on December 23, 1980, a night flight bound for Paris plummets toward the Swiss Alps, crashing into a snowy mountainside. Within seconds flames engulf the plane, which is filled with holiday travelers. Of the 169 passengers, all but one perish.
The sole survivor is a three-month-old girl--thrown from the airliner before fire consumes the cabin. But two infants were on board. Is "the Miracle Child of Mont Terri" Lyse-Rose or Emilie? The families of both girls step forward to claim the child. Dogged by bad luck, the Vitrals live a simple life, selling snacks from a van on the beaches of northern France. In contrast, the de Carvilles, who amassed a fortune in the oil business, are powerful-and dangerous.
Eighteen years later, a private detective tasked with solving the mystery of the girl known as "Lylie" is on the verge of giving up. As he contemplates taking his own life, Crédule Grand-Duc suddenly discovers a secret hidden in plain view. Will he live to tell it?
Meanwhile, Lylie, now a beautiful university student, entrusts a secret notebook into the hands of Marc, the brooding young man who loves her, and then vanishes. After Marc reads the notebook's contents, he embarks on a frantic search for Lylie.
But he is not the only one looking for her.