Madeleine, is a prime example of this axiom. I say 'autobiography' because Kate's book is not so much about what happened to her missing daughter, Madeleine Beth, but about Kate McCann nee Healy - her life, her loves and her losses, her trials and her tribulations. In reality, very little of the book is about the missing little girl who vanished in Praia da Luz, the lovely vacation destination in the Algarve of south Portugal; it is a carefully crafted revisionist history of one of the most puzzling missing children's cases in recent years and a strident defense of the characters and behaviors of Kate and Gerry McCann.
Madeleine McCann, who was almost four-years-old the evening she vanished from the McCann's Ocean Club apartment, allegedly snatched from her bed as she slept in a bedroom with her twin two-year-old twin siblings, Sean and Amelie. What set this case apart from so many is the fact that her parents were not at 'home' with their children when this alleged abduction occurred; they were off in the resort complex dining and drinking with their seven friends for the evening. For that matter, all of the infant and toddler children of the Tapas restaurant party were left alone to fend for themselves while their parents enjoyed their last night in town.
Madeleine and her brother, Sean, had spent a good hour of the previous evening crying for their parents and a couple of the other children were fussy or ill, one to the point of vomiting while her parents were off having dinner. Three of the families locked up their apartments while they were gone, but the McCanns, Kate and her husband, Gerry, say they left all the doors open so that someone, apparently anyone, could have easy access to the children. The parents of these children were hardly uneducated boobs. They were medical doctors and surgeons and folks of relatively high status back home in their British communities. The case made the tabloids, but, in fact, it was the McCanns themselves that courted the media relentlessly, making Madeleine the most recognized missing child in the world and, themselves a target of a good deal of criticism and skepticism. They claimed their campaign was to find Madeleine but a fair number of people think it was a smokescreen to cover their own criminal acts.
Which is why Kate McCann wrote her book, Madeleine. Not, in my opinion, to re-energize the search for her daughter as she claims, but to convince people of her innocence and raise revenue. Considering the fact the book sold 50,000 copies of the very first day and was serialized for half a million dollars and the Amazon reviews are mostly glowing and supportive, I would say Kate has achieved her goals in quite a smashing way.
But, there are still hidden nuggets of gold to be mined from within Kate's version of what happened in Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007. The one dangerous thing about telling yet another rendition of events is that there is often truth among the lies or lies among the truth; this is why police investigators always want persons-of-interest to keep talking and defense attorneys keep telling their clients to shut the hell up.
US and UK). I had been reluctant to offer one for a long time because, in spite of the many police reports and statements and television appearances of Kate and Gerry McCann, I wanted to hear the story from one of their mouths, to know their answers to some very pertinent questions. Kate finally did me the favor when she wrote, Madeleine, and although most of the book is a defense of her behaviors and actions, it is through this defense that Kate has given me a much stronger insight into what likely happened the night Madeleine went missing and why certain things happened or did not happen. Even with time to meticulously choose what one wants to say, it is amazing that what actually ends up coming out is something that perhaps would be better left unsaid. However, personal agendas, narcissism, and a lack of objectivity can cloud the judgment and the end results might not be exactly what the person intended. And I thank Kate for that.
Let me tell you two of the biggest revelations in the book: Kate admits no one came through the window of the children's bedroom. Yes, after years of insisting that someone broke into the apartment by tampering with the shutters and forcing the window open, Kate now backs down from that claim, agreeing with the Policia Judiciaria that an abductor did not climbed into or out of the room. This is sort of a Bombshell Tonight. What this means is that Kate does not claim the police botched the evidence and while she still claims there was an abductor that opened the window for reasons that make no sense, her admission changes how I view what actually happened that night.
Another fascinating bit in the book is Kate's incredibly generous forgiveness of Jane Tanner for not telling her immediately that she saw a man carrying Madeleine off from the apartment; she is instead thankful that "someone had seen something". In other words, Kate is happy an abduction was seen going down, not that she was notified of it in time to do anything about it. This startling revelation tells me a lot about the mindset of the McCanns and adds greatly to the profile in determining what happened to Madeleine.
I hope Kate McCann does achieve her goal of re-energizing the investigation of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and that the truth of the matter will indeed finally come to light.
in Women in Crime Ink, June 15, 2011