This isn't a subject that your Reaper has written about before, and it's one I approach with a little trepidation. It's about Madeleine McCann and her parents. We all know the story - Madeleine McCann was 4 years old when she vanished on holiday with the family in 2007. She's never been seen since. Since the balls-up that consisted of the Portugese authorities official inquiry into the matter was concluded, the McCanns hired a private detective to continue the search and started up a fund to raise money to pay for this.
There have been reports in the last few months that the kitty is starting to run low, which explains today's news that they've signed a deal to write a book about her disappearance. Now, I have some sympathy for the parents in this case. They must know it was incredibly stupid of them to leave a child alone in a foreign country, but I wouldn't wish the loss of their child on anyone, not even my worst enemy. However, I'm struggling to view this news with anything other than cynicism, to be honest.
For example, the book is due to be released on April 28th next year, timed to "coincide with the fourth anniversary of her disappearance", according to the Telegraph's report. Whilst this may seem like an effective way of keeping the media spotlight on the Madeleine McCann case, I can't help but think that this is somewhat distasteful. Madeleine has been missing now for over three and a half years. She might still be alive, she might be dead. I don't know, and no one else knows. That's the truth of it. There's nothing wrong with them hoping and believing she's still alive - if I were in that position, I would be hoping for much the same thing.
I'm also uneasy with the way this is being used to make as much money as possible. The advance on the book was "significant", they're receiving "enhanced royalties" which will give them more of the profits than authors would normally get, and there will of course be huge offers from the newspapers for rights to serialise the book just before it comes out. Besides, how much of the money raised will actually be spent on the search? I read that last year, only a tiny percentage of the money available was used for that purpose, with the remainder being spent elsewhere, including various legal actions.
Will your Reaper be buying this book? It's safe to say I won't.
Oh, and one more thing. As ever, comments are switched on in this post, but given the sensitive subject matter, I must ask everyone to behave themselves. They're a pretty litigious couple, so don't say anything that could land me in any legal hot water, please.