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8 true crime podcasts you should sink your teeth into that aren't Serial

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TRUE CRIME PODCASTS are something that a lot of us just cannot get enough of. There’s a never-ending supply of them depicting nearly every kind of crime imaginable with many of us having an insatiable appetite for them.

The problem sometimes though can be trying to sort the good from the not-so-good offerings. So here are eight suggestions for what should be your next true-crime podcast and I promise you that none of them will be ‘Serial’. Although if you haven’t listened to it, you really should.

1. The Teacher’s Pet

In 1982, Lyn Dawson disappeared, never to be seen again leaving behind her two small daughters. Her husband Chris Dawson, a former footballer claimed that she’d just up and left and possibly joined a religious cult. Two days after she disappeared, Chris moved his lover Joanne Curtis into the house. Chris had been Joanne’s PE teacher and Joanne was a teenager when their relationship began.

No trace of Lyn has ever been found but it’s suspected that she may have been murdered. Journalist with The Australian Hedley Thomas looks back at the case which has never been solved, combing through the weeks and months leading up to Lyn’s disappearance and Chris’ odd behaviour after she vanished. You’ll be hooked after one episode.

2. Stranglers

Released in 2016, Stranglers examines the Boston Strangler murders which took place in Boston between 1962 and 1964. Throughout that time, 13 women were murdered that have been attributed to the Strangler and the crimes resulted in the largest criminal investigation in the history of Massachusetts.

For nearly a year and a half, police were stumped and even called in a Dutch psychic to help them solve the case. Eventually, handyman Albert DeSalvo confessed and went to prison. But that was far from the end of the story.

3. Criminal

Many true-crime podcasts are quite long. Criminal bucks that trend with episodes that are usually around 25-35 minutes long. What’s even better is that Criminal focuses on a different aspect of crime with each episode. One episode details the history of 420 and where it came from. Another interview features a man who has streaked at every major sporting event and the reasons why he does it.

If you want a podcast that isn’t always about crime but always seems to have a connection to it, then this is the podcast for you. Warning, you’ll be saying ‘I’m Phoebe Judge, this is Criminal’ over and over again in your head for the rest of your life once you start listening.

4. Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo

In 2015, the murder rate of Indigenous women in Canada was six times higher than non-Indigenous women. Investigative reporter Connie Walker follows the case of Cleo, a young Indigenous girl who was removed from her family in the so-called ‘Sixties Scoop’. She was then sent to live in the United States. Her family were told when she attempted to return to her family in Saskatchewan, she was raped and murdered. Connie undertakes an investigation to find out what really happened to Cleo.

This is actually the second season of Missing and Murdered with season one focusing on the murder of Indigenous woman Alberta Williams. Walker who is Cree herself examines Canada’s attitude to its own Indigenous people over the years and in particular the difficulties these people still face today throughout the podcast.

5. Someone Knows Something

Another Canadian offering. Host David Ridgen examines different cold cases across North America including the disappearance of five-year-old Adrien McNaughton in 1972, the 1998 disappearance of Sheryl Shepard, the 1964 murders of Henry Dee and Charles Moore and the 1996 murder of Wayne Greavette.

What’s great about SKS is that David Ridgen has probably one of the most calming accents in podcasting. He’s also incredibly thorough and the podcasts are gripping. Season three which focuses on murders in 1964 by the Ku Klux Klan is heartbreaking but gripping and necessary listening.

6. The Doorstep Murder

BBC Scotland’s offering follows Fiona Walker as she documents the 2004 murder of Alistair Wilson in Nairn, Scotland. The murder baffled police as there was no clear motive or suspect with the killer ringing the doorbell before shooting Alistair as he stood outside his front door leaving behind a wife Veronica, and two young sons.

The murder rocked the town of Nairn which rarely suffers from serious crime and to this date, the case remains unsolved. This one can get a little over-descriptive at times but the episodes are short so it’s good if you need a palette cleanser between podcasts.

7. Unravel True Crime

Unravel is an Australian offering where each season, an investigative reporter takes a look back and attempt to tackle unsolved crimes. In season one ‘Blood on the Tracks’, Allan Clarke investigates the suspicious death of Mark Haines, a 17-year-old Aboriginal man who was found dead on the train tracks in Tamworth, New South Wales in 1988.

The podcast follows Allan who has spent five years looking into the case, trying to figure out how Mark’s body ended up on the tracks with a towel placed under his head. Police ruled the death as a suicide but Mark’s family insist that someone murdered him. Season two will be coming along soon so it’s worth jumping in on this one early.

8. Black Hands

My final recommendation comes from New Zealand and is probably the creepiest recommendation I can offer. Martin van Beynen re-examines the murder of the Bain family in 1994. The only suspects at the time were father Robin who died in the crime and the only surviving member of the family, son David who was 22 at the time.

Van Beynen takes you through every aspect of the case, scrutinising every theory and examining why a second trial was necessary in this case. This case is exceptionally dark and is a hard one to listen to sometimes but if you’re a hardcore true crime fan, it’ll be right up your street.

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About the author:

Rachel O'Neill

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