To the outsider it has all the ingredients of a classic Agatha Christie-style whodunit - but in reality it's far more complex and heartbreaking, because it involves the disappearance of a little girl.
I spent a week in Praia da Luz where Madeleine went missing, "walking the shop floor" as I call it, going over the available evidence and unearthing some startling new information about the case. And in what will surely be another hammer-blow to the McCanns' hopes of finding their little daughter, I've discovered from lengthy talks with my barrister contact that Portuguese investigators have unofficially abandoned the hunt for Madeleine's alleged abductor.
There is now NO detective work being carried out by Portuguese police to link anyone other than the McCanns to Maddie's disappearance. Officially, they say they're continuing the search for an abductor. But their policy is now to only respond to sightings reported to them by Europol and Interpol.
The officers leading the investigation are pinning their hopes on the DNA evidence, getting some sort of confession from the McCanns or their friends, or finding Madeleine's body.
They remain convinced of her parents' guilt, apparently unwilling to consider another scenario, even as their "house of cards" case collapses around them. Another fresh revelation that undermines the Portuguese effort is that police also failed to take DNA samples from Madeleine's little brother Sean, two, and his twin sister, Amelie, until their parents were made "arguidos", or suspects, just over two weeks ago. This failure has seriously undermined the whole forensic case against the McCanns. It means early forensic work is flawed and needs to be re-examined. A process that could take months.
Evidence gathered by the Portuguese police against the McCanns which we have learned about in the past couple of weeks depends entirely on forensic tests, including DNA evidence, so-called bodily fluids and hair. Yet I have found that evidence has been fatally flawed through their own incompetence. The apartment was also not sealed off properly, meaning any evidence was contaminated from the outset.
Also, I can now see the McCanns in no way abandoned their kids, as some have suggested. I was amazed at how close their apartment was to the tapas restaurant. After just a few hours it was also possible to dispel some of the slurs that have been levelled at the McCanns. Gerry did not call Sky TV before he called the police, as the Portuguese media has claimed. Police now know this was done by Gerry's sister, Philomena, in Glasgow. But they have allowed that rumour to fester.