Deconstructing the Madeleine McCann Story: Part 2


This is the second part in this planned series of articles that will deconstruct the Madeleine McCann story. If you haven’t read the first part of this series, you can read that here: source

The story of Madeleine McCann is constructed like most detective fiction. It begins in act one with a crime scene and the audience are then provided with an explanation for the crime. In this case, a child is missing from the apartment and the explanation given is the child was abducted / taken from that apartment by an unknown. The audience then processes that information.

Act two is when we are introduced to the detective character. The detective begins to investigate the crime and finds fault with the initial explanation. The detective then puts various clues together and presents an alternative explanation for the event. In the case of the Madeleine McCann story the conclusion of the detective is that the abduction was staged by the parents to cover up the death of their child.

That is the typical set-up of most detective fiction stories and, as we can see, the Madeleine story uses the same construct.


Defining Character Roles

In detective fiction, the protagonist of the story is usually the detective character. The protagonist of the Madeleine McCann story is also the detective character and his name is Goncalo Amaral. This article will demonstrate how the story presents the character in this role and will also demonstrate the various techniques used to shift audience perspective to supporting his claims.

The main suspects in any detective story are usually the antagonists. This role is traditionally established early in the narrative and the main suspects in the Madeleine story are the parents, Kate and Gerry McCann. You might argue that Kate & Gerry McCann are not the antagonists, but the storytellers appear to present / portray the parents in this role and this article will demonstrate how the story does this throughout the narrative.

This article has been split into two chapters, each chapter representing the two opposing character roles.


The Purpose of the Second Act

The purpose of the second act is to convince the audience that the initial explanation was false and the explanation provided by the detective character is correct – or that he is at least on the right track.  This shift in audience perspective requires both sides (all of the storytellers) to push in exactly the same direction, which is exactly what happens and this article will demonstrate how this has been done.

The side of the protagonist push these ideas directly and the side of the antagonists use indirect techniques – you’ll see what I mean as we move forward.


Work of Fiction

The first article concluded that the story of Madeleine McCann is a work of fiction and certain critics felt this conclusion was not sufficiently supported.

A principle consideration of ‘burden of proof’ is:

“…to what degree of certitude must the assertion be supported?”

Now, for many people the first article provided more than enough examples to support the fictional nature of the Madeleine story, but I will continue to support this conclusion by providing more examples that demonstrate the Madeleine McCann story as being an exercise in fictional narrative techniques.

Since the first article many people have noticed things that I had not, which is exactly what I was hoping for and there’s an example of that in this article. The idea is that this second article provides even more scope for external expansion, especially as we take a first look at Gonçalo Amaral’s book ‘The Truth of the Lie’ and Kate McCann’s book ‘Madeleine’.

Thank you and please read on.


1: The Protagonist

2: The Antagonists

Final Conclusion