As we’ve said goodbye to 2022 True Crime Fiction takes a look back at the best podcasts we’ve reviewed this year. In no particular order.
Sweet Bobby rushed to the top of the true crime podcast charts. This one and done from Tortoise Media took us through Kirat Assi’s romance with the titular Bobby. The smart professional woman never dreamed that Bobby, a contact from her wider family circle was not what he told her he was. The romance is a rollercoaster and I doubt that many people would predict the climax of what is a thoroughly mendacious plot. A further blow comes to Kirat in that her search for justice is confounded by inability from the police to understand what she has been put through and embarrassment her family feel at the situation, wishing for her to sweep it under the rug. Sweet Bobby while shocking is a sad reminder that we still struggle for justice in the digital age.
Murderabillia from Audible is the rare true crime podcast that manages to step outside of it’s own genre and examine it, while also being part of it. Poppy Damon and Alice Fiennes dive into the world of Murderabillia, collectables which are linked to notorious murderers, such as their letters, or paintings, sold through third parties. While for some the collecting of these dubious mementoes is a fun part of a dark fandom, for others it is a painful reminder of the losses that these originator’s of these keepsakes have forced upon others. While Murderabillia is in itself a relatively new phenomenon it is hard to shake off the links to earlier behaviours such as the way we used to keep things supposedly touched by saints, and use the blood of murderers to ward off evil. Perhaps for all our modernity humanity is still as superstitious as ever.
The House That Vanished is a welcome break for those of us who occasionally need a break from the violence, blood and great sadness of true crime. However what is essentially a podcast about one of the most bizarre thefts that has ever taken place, it is not without it’s own grief. It is a reminder that even when there is no murder, crime is rarely victimless, and we can never truly predict how profoundly it will shake the world of those who are on it’s receiving end.
Believe Her is a podcast about a crime that has ripped a town in half. The murder of Christopher Grover by his partner and mother of his children Nikki Adamando was the culmination of years of control, and horrific abuse of Nikki by Grover, which is accompanied by an unrelenting amount of exploitation by the men around her, and a community and justice system which is still wilfully ignorant when it comes to misogyny and domestic abuse. It is a story we have all heard before, but for as long as it keeps on happening, it is a story we have to tell.
The Witness in His Own Words is a powerful first person telling of Joseph O’Callaghan’s story. While still at school he was recruited to work for a local drug dealer, and over the next years his life spiralled until he was up to his neck in crime, the initial enjoyment of both money and protection wore off as the terrible control the dealer exerted over O’Callaghan’s life became to become clear, a control that culminated in rape. After a murder O’Callaghan turned states witness and became the youngest person in Irish history to go into the witness protection programme. His difficulties did not stop there. Given how extreme his childhood experience has been it is no surprise that life has been a struggle for him, but perhaps with this podcast the great bravery he has exhibited after the terrible exploitation of his youth may finally be recognised.
Harsh Reality appears to be the story of a reality television show, where young men were pitted against each other for the hand of the beautiful Miriam, in an Ibiza villa. So where is the crime you ask? The men, on finding out that Miriam was a trans woman sued to production company for sexual assault. The story of the wilful negligence of the production company as well as the stark difference in the treatment of Miriam compared to the men makes this a modern day morality tale, which although it happened thirty years ago, still tells us much about the fear and ridicule which trans women have to deal with in their lives.
The Cruelty investigates one of Scotland’s most intreguing mysteries, the Unknown Bair. The Bairn, washed up on a beach near Tayport had never been identified, although rumours about their origin persisted over the decades. Davie Donaldson, a member of the Scottish Traveller community, delves into this mystery as it has long been suggested the Barin was of traveller stock. In doing so he uncovers a history of modern Scotland that has been hidden for a long time.