Thursday, October 25, 2018
The Cry and the McCann Story
I have read the book and I have seen the BBC series and I am surprised at how few people recognize that this IS a fiction story pretty much based on the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Although I am sure the McCanns would deny it and the author h as seemingly denied it (by saying the story was inspired by a number of different missing children’s cases), this story is extraordinarily close to the reality of the McCanns and what happened to Maddie (not directly, but in connection with the issues of the Madeleine McCann case). If it walks like a McCann duck....
First of all, I thought both the book and the show were quite good. I complement the author and the producer and the actors. As an author myself who has written fiction, I can tell you that many authors use real life stories to build a fictional story on. Quite frankly, a great true story is an easy way to have your fictional story write itself without having to come up with the idea and all the elements. Having said that, I thought the author mixed her own unique ideas in with the reality and made a fine fictional drama. Also, it is not unusual for people whom we know and behaviors which we have seen to end up in a fiction story. After all, it IS fiction so we can do what we like. At least in theory.
The Cry by Helen Fitzgerald is said to be fiction but it has so much of the McCann story woven in that I am sure a certain legal group could find the story to be defamatory of the McCanns and that it purports a theory of what happened to Maddie and only covers it with a thin veil of “it’s made up and has nothing to do with her.” I find it quite fascinating that a publisher was willing to take the risk of publishing this book. Morever, that the BBC was willing to make The Cry into a series with little changed from what the author wrote is stunning considering they are totally unwilling to make a documentary about the Madeleine McCann case that dares to present the possibility of their involvement. Perhaps they know the McCanns are running out of money to sue people or there is something else afoot (not the arrest of the McCanns, by any stretch).
SPOILERS AHEAD! If you want to enjoy reading the book or watching the series, stop here and come back when you are done.
Let’s see how similar this fiction is to the story of Madeleine McCann.
The couple, Alistair and Joanna, are not married (but they are partners) and they have one child together, a 9-month-old baby boy, Noah. The McCanns had two other children together to consider when things went wrong, and the daughter of Alistair becomes one of the reasons he and Joanna cannot tell the truth about what happened to their son; Alistair wants to be able to still have a relationship with his daughter. They are from the UK (living in Scotland) and are off to Australia, not for a vacation, but because Alistair wants to get his teenage daughter back from the clutches of his ex-wife and bring her back to Scotland.
On the plane, little baby Noah cries and cries and cries. Joanna pretty much falls apart (she was a happy single woman who then met Alistair, got into a relationship with a partner who puts his needs first, and isn’t dealing well with the stress of motherhood and caring for a baby). She gives the baby some Calpol (BWAHAHA! Yep, nothing like what might have happened to Maddie!) or at least she thinks she did (and is concerned it wasn’t the Calpol but an adult antibiotic) As they get off the plane and into the car, Alistair carries the baby and puts him in the car seat and off they drive. Somewhere along the way in the middle of the outback (I guess), Alistair needs to make a phone call and stops the car and gets out. Joanna checks on the baby and, lo and behold, the child is dead. They panic, freak out, runabout, cry, and then Alistair makes a plan that he forces Joanna into by saying 1) it was an accident and not anyone’s fault, 2) if we tell the truth YOU and, maybe me, will go to prison, and 3) I will not have a chance of custody with my daughter.
So, the plan is made and they drove to a store (after visiting where they are staying) and Alistair goes in and then Joanna runs in, leaving the baby alone in the car which is when the child goes “missing.”
All the details of the rest of the story are not necessary but here are some other similarities. Joanna wants to keep the bib the child was wearing because it smells like him. Very similar to a toy Kate kept because it was something keeping her close to Maddie. Gerry (or Kate) washes the toy which is odd because it eliminates evidence (if they are innocent) and odd because it eliminates the smell of the child as well. Alistair burns the bib because he knows it has evidence of some drug on it. Alistair is seen with a bag that presumably holds his baby’s body and he goes off to bury the baby without Joanna knowing where. I believe evidence supports that Gerry did a similar thing, moving the body of Maddie in a sports bag and burying her in an isolated area without Kate by his side.
So, they lie to the police, everyone searches for the baby except them, and eventually the police give up and they return home. They become suspects at some point but nothing is proven. The media is all over them and they become notorious. Social media goes nuts with people taking sides as to their guilt or not.
The basic story of this couple is extremely similar to the McCanns. Sure, the number of children is changed, where the baby died is different, but we still have an accidental death brought on by a drug (my theory and the theory of Goncalo Amaral along with a fall behind the couch), a cover-up by the parents, fame and media attention, social media scrutiny and a return home where they remain free on any charges of killing their child. Left out are any helpful friends, a fund and search by private detectives, and the dogs.
Now the couple is a most fascinating portrait of Kate and Gerry, I mean, Joanna and Alistair. Clearly, the author, if she is basing Alistair’s character on Gerry in any way DOES NOT like Gerry. He is presented as a weasel, a control freak, a liar, a manipulator (he really was the one who gave the overdose of Calpol to the baby and let Joanna think it was her fault), and he courts the media and is excited about getting a book deal and doing big TV shows. Sound familiar? Joanna sure seems a lot like Kate although she get a bit of a softer treatment in that the author presents Joanna as not a bad person but one in over her head with a master manipulator like Alistair. It almost seems as if the author might have a soft corner for Kate and think she really was not responsible for what happened to Maddie; that it really WAS Gerry’s fault and she is purporting her own theory of what happend to Madeleine McCann through her book, The Cry. Accidental death, parental coverup, Kate controlled by Gerry, and Gerry presents as a psychopath.
I would really love to know if the author read Amaral’s book or my book and understood our theories and what the evidence supports. But, we may never know because, well, if I were her, I wouldn’t want to throw my own self under the McCann bus, right?
Criminal Profiler Pat Brown
October 25, 2018
By Pat Brown