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Maddie making of a myth
Book By Anne Guedes

“Maddie, making of a myth” is dedicated to the Portuguese collective soul
celebrated by Fernando Pessoa".

By Anne Guedes


Table of Contents.


Chapter 1 - Albion on Lusitanian soil

Is it all a matter of scenery? Beyond Wellington's lines. The mystery! The mystery!" they dully murmured. An extraordinary disclosure. The foliage of the false pepper trees. Homo festivus. Fair is foul and foul is fair.

Chapter 2 - The day Madeleine left

A morning like any other? A pending outcome. Once upon a time. Excesses and insufficiencies of the imagination. Out of sight, out of hearing. Open one's eyes so as not to see.

Chapter 3 - The Golden Hours

Every contact leaves a trace. Wer reitet so spät durch Nacht und Wind? No corpus delicti. Auspicious hours, suspend your course! Like dogs in a bowling game. Tis now the very witching time of night.

Chapter 4 -  Birth and resistance of a rumour

Point at a deer and call it a horse. Who controls the present, controls the past. Following in the footsteps. As for the real... it can always pop up elsewhere. But what were the police doing? An act of faith.



Chapter 5 - The privilege of ambiguity

Nose up in the breeze. Fragile certainties. When they can't change things, they change words. Sometimes we only see what we want to see. Diplomatic commotion. No matter how we ignore them,  the facts never cease to exist.

Chapter 6 - Things said, things silenced

No good dog ever alerts falsely. Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyant. The American archetype. Blunt damaging effects. On the side of those who were seeking. A wave of media attention. Two timelines, plus one. Words not to say it.

Chapter 7 - A limited company, a spin doctor and a papal blessing

Is the public eye an eagle eye? The British archetype. Silent facts and stubborn facts... The Danaides' barrel. Damage limitation again and again. Human shields. One kidnapper can hide another. The Pope meets the MCs.

Chapter 8 - The Rainbow Effect

In looking for the motive, are we missing the soul? Profiling a disappearance. Things as they are or as we are? Sentimental crowds with a thirst for the ideal. Grandeur and servitude of celebrity. If it doesn't make sense, it's probably not true. Homo abducans.



Chapter 9 - Cognitive dissonances

Burying the truth under a pile of improbabilities. Showing oneself in order to hide better? The seeker of the lost. Legally responsible rather than candidly thoughtful? Such a sad old feeling, but you're innocent when you dream. This ocean of ordinary waves.

Chapter 10 - All my genius is in my nostrils

A reality inaccessible to the other senses. Subtle residual odours. Trained by the living to seek out the dead. The dog's nose knows. Open your nostrils wide and smell the world. Playing with appearances. Grabbing the moon with one's teeth.

Chapter 11 - Nothing is purely true

Not just anyone can be a victim. Holding something to be a fact vs. proving that it is. Truth games. The PJ advances, the Vatican retreats. Imagine all the people... looking for our child. I am what I think you think I am.

Chapter 12 - From victims to persons of interest

DNA and LCN (Low Copy Number). Denying what is and explaining what is not. A feverish night. The misunderstood status. I would prefer not to, said Bartleby. As simple as possible, but no more.



Chapter 13 - Smithman

A bargain of fiction. Believe what you see, not see what you believe. Counterattack in safe hands. A good reputation covers all faults. Inextricable thorn in the side. When the clocks strike thirteen.

Chapter 14 - Stolen, safe and sound?

Layoff of a superintendent. Mister Jack Whicher. Cablegate (Wikileaks). Pyjamas can change everything. The impossible is an ever receding frontier. Minerva's owl only takes flight at dusk. Five experts in the field. Delenda est Carthago.

Chapter 15 - Black swan or Schrödinger's cat?

The Vanity Fair affair. Filter out the mosquito and let the camel through. Flee forward or grab the bull by the horns. The spin doctor's crusade. Anticipating failure. No Win no Fee. Money also softens mores. The state of the accounts.

Chapter 16 - The temptation to reconstitute

Towards the inexorable end of the investigation. Killing two birds with one stone, or even more. We ask for your cooperation. I'm listening to you... Me neither. Kick the Portuguese out of Rule Britannia. My name is Halligen, Kevin Halligen. Be realistic, ask for the impossible.



A sting in the tail. Awful but lawful. Lack of evidence. Well, judge now!




Few countries are still unaware of the disappearance of a British girl, Madeleine MC, on holiday in the south of Portugal at the beginning of May 2007. Rare are the news items that receive such excessive and persistent global media coverage. Rare also are the criminal cases without the slightest evidence - no door or window showing signs of forced entry, no visible or invisible traces, no fingerprints or DNA, no eyewitnesses. Public sympathy gradually gave way to a fascination with the mystery, particularly on social networks, while the Portuguese judicial police sought to shed light on what might have happened. For fourteen months, a voluminous investigation file was built. This is the ground of my investigation. From a resolutely critical perspective, I examine the findings, the hearings, the expert reports, the special operations, I question the forces at work and try to shed light on the reasons why the Portuguese investigation failed, taking the risk of leading the reader through the light and shadow of the forest into a world where the human heart loses its way.

Faced with the disappearance of a child and the grief of those close to him, rational thought is abolished, overwhelmed by the empire of emotion, passive conviction and credulity, if only as a cohesive factor, even in the so-called "quality" press, even among those who are endowed with political power. The British public authorities instinctively considered the kidnapping to be a fact when it was merely an opinion. The Portuguese judicial police, despite the absence of any evidence to support it, finally endorsed this hypothesis that the parents had immediately identified as the only possible one, in reality the only acceptable one. From the outset, and in the absence of a priority timeline, the investigators found themselves up against the irreconcilable testimony of a group of protagonists who were both anxious to protect themselves from an accusation of negligence and eager to show their solidarity with the victims. Diplomatic assistance and media requests were as present and pressing as the facts were rare.

However, the investigation remained impenetrable when two renowned British experts, one in behaviour and the other in disappearances, recommended the first to also follow the parental trail because of divergent statements and the second to bring in two dogs capable of detecting the residual smell of corpses and blood. The canines' alerts had the effect of significantly altering the direction of the investigation, and it was at this point that the dissensions arose, as the parents, who had become persons of interest, felt offended by the opening of other lines of enquiry. The visibility of the case had been achieved, they had become stars, but their reputation, this mass of opinions or improved image of themselves, was in danger. Through a batteryt of lawyers and a spin doctor first appointed by the British Prime Minister (Tony Blair), who was well versed in interpersonal skills, they made it known that they felt doubly victimised. The disappearance of the little girl started to provide social and political grist for the mill.

Following a review of the case, the Public Prosecutor's Office concluded that relaunching the investigation on a solid basis required a judicial reconstitution involving all the protagonists. But after hesitating, invoking all kinds of pretexts and although they knew that this was condemning the investigation to die out, they finally refused.

The differences inherent in the legal traditions of civil law and common law were, across the Channel, the occasion or the pretext for a serious institutional incomprehension. The prosecutor's filing order, justified by insufficient evidence and undetermination of the nature of the crime, was not a judgement  and  therefore no guarantee of innocence. The tabloids added to the confusion by insinuating that the investigators had sabotaged the search for the child and arbitrarily stigmatised the parents. Over the next fourteen years, the affair became a media rehash of misunderstandings and tensions. The Foreign Office, while admitting that it was in the public interest to know how far the government had gone in this sensitive affair, argued that the reasons for keeping quiet prevailed.


In May 2011, with the Murdoch press threatening to undermine the Home Secretary (Theresa May), the Prime Minister (David Cameron) asked Scotland Yard for a review of the case (Operation Grange). In June 2020, the case took on the air of a 'state affair' when the German Criminal Investigation Office (Operation Rake) entered the scene. In need of evidence and despite different perceptions (kidnapping v murder), the Yard and the BKA jointly launched a call for witnesses, with an ideal suspect in their sights. The Portuguese public prosecutor's office took note of this phlegmatically, and the international court of public opinion was convinced that a solution was imminent. But 'Grange' and 'Rake' had taken the risk of going down a blind alley. Betting that the truth lies in the file of the Portuguese judicial police is safer and more reasonable.

The Portuguese always refrained from officially rectifying the endless disinformation of the tabloids, whether it was embarrassing or politically incorrect to dispel media fantasies. Nonetheless, what had to happen did happen, but that's another story.



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