After the Crash – Michel Bussi

Translated from the original French by Sam Taylor, this is a book that starts off with a tragic, but enthralling scenario: it’s December 1980, and a plane crashes and burns on the France/Switzerland border, leaving only one survivor from the 169 passengers and crew, a little baby girl. But whose child is she? There are two potential answers – one wealthy and well connected family, and one family at the opposite end of the social spectrum – and no obvious way of deciding which is correct. It’s a time before effective DNA analysis, so the appliance of science isn’t going to help much. A judge must decide.

Fast forward, and we are looking back at the crash and the investigation from the perspective of private detective Crédule Grand-Duc, his casebook, and Mark (the girl’s brother, according to the judge’s decision). Did the detective ever get some proof about who the girl really is? Why does Mark have his casebook?

From here on, the story flows from improbable to implausible, but skillfully. It’s an entertaining, surprising, and fun read. It has its shocks and its twists, and is highly recommended. It’s not going to win any prizes for high literature, but who cares. It’s an easy, satisfying read.