From unbelievable con women and manipulative men to disappearing tourists and travellers, here’s 8 true crime podcasts I’ve been enjoying recently. They have kept me totally hooked and saying ‘whaaaaat the…’, as the stories unfold and the tales of crime and mystery become even more bizarre.
I documented some of my favourite podcasts a few years back, but last year during my travels I got out of the habit of listening to them. Lock down has changed this however, with longer walks giving me a chance to switch off and listen to ‘casts and audio books along the way. My podcast loving friend Rach has listened to a lot in her time, so I always go to her for recommendations first. Most recently she’s sent me a selection of true crime suggestions, which I love. I was a huge Serial fan when it first came out so these were the perfect way to get back into true crime podcasts.
This is of course by no means an exhaustive list and I’m planning to update it as I listen to more – like a podcast journal 😉.
Updated 16th July!
True Crime Podcasts: Couples in Trouble
The Teacher’s Pet
By far one of the most complex and horrifying cold case stories I’ve listened to so far. Teachers Pet explores the mysterious disappearance of Lynette Dawson, a nurse, wife and mother who vanished at the beginning of January 1982. Despite some friends suspecting mysterious circumstances, no-one raised a real concern with the police and it’s not until additional police investigations in 1990, 1998 and 2018, whilst the podcast is being produced, that the full story really starts to appear.
Chris Dawson, a former New Town Jets rugby league player, sports teacher and Lynnette’s former husband is suspected by some people of killing her after he had a well documented affair with a student from his class, Joanne Curtis.
This podcast, broadcast in 2018 sees Hedley Thomas investigate and bring to light brand new evidence which changes the story around Lynette’s disappearance. He speaks to her family and friends and finds out what Chris and Lynette’s relationship was like up until her disappearance.
He also learns from former school friends of Joanne’s that the circumstances at Cromer High, where Chris and his twin brother Paul both taught, were not as you would hope, expect or ever imagine at a high school.
I’ve still got a few episodes left of this podcast and I’m totally hooked in, avoiding google for spoilers and hoping to see justice for Lynette after so many things have failed her over the last 38 years.
Check out their website for more information.
Over My Dead Body S1 – “Tally”
Back in 2014, law professor Dan Markel is shot in the head at his home in Tallahassee. This podcast looks into the relationships between Dan & his wife Wendi, that leads up to the fatal shooting, and the consequences that follow.
Two good-looking attorneys, Dan Markel and Wendi Adelson seem to have the perfect relationship and marriage on the outside. But sadly it’s not all it cracked up to be, and despite Dan doting on his wife, she leaves him and their perfect life falls apart. Matt Shaer explores this story, the relationship that Dan and Wendi had and the interesting connections that Wendi’s family appeared to have with a suspected hitman.
Despite the connections made to the Adelson family, including a confession from the hitman and the circumstantial evidence racking up, no-one from the Adelson family was indicted with the murder of Wendi’s ex, Dan Markel. Did this have something to do with their wealthy, white background? Matt Shaer investigates this story using interviews, recordings and insights surrounding the story to try to get to the bottom of this strange turn of events.
Visit the Wondery Site now.
True Crime Podcasts: Manipulative Men
The Dating Game Killer
This twisted story documents the life of one of America’s most prolific, and might I say cunning serial killers. Rodney Alcala, despite being a diagnosed sociopath managed to get a job at a newspaper and appear on the TV show ‘The Dating Game’ amid his killing spree in the US after no-one did any background checks in either instance.
What’s interesting about this story however is the fact that despite being caught, tried, convicted of rape and murder and sentenced to death in 1980 the verdict was overturned and he faced a second trial. In the second trial, he was again sentenced to death. After new state law in 2003 found that his DNA matched that found at unresolved crime scenes from the 70s, Alcala went to trial again, this time represented himself. In 2010 he was sentenced to death for a THIRD time.
Tracy Pattin and Steven Lang explore the story behind this manipulative and predatory monster who managed to persuade, seduce and convince innocent people around him that he was kind, thoughtful and reformed. He fooled many, holding down a job, hobbies and a girlfriend, all while going about his killing spree across America.
Visit the Wondery website.
The Shrink Next Door
Would you allow your psychiatrist to help you run your business? Would you let them into your home, let them put their name on your mailbox? Would you write them into your will?
Set in the wealthy backdrop of Manhattan and the Hamptons in New York, the Shrink Next Door is a true and dark story of deception and manipulation. Joe Nocera, a New York Times journalist explores in depth the bizarre and intense relationship between Isaac “Ike” Herschkopf, a psychiatrist and his so called maintenance man at the Hampton home – who in fact turns out to be one of his patients.
Joe, by chance, ends up living in the home next door to Ike in the Hamptons, or so he thinks. After drinks there one summer evening Joe was intrigued by Ike – something just wasn’t right. The following year, it turns out things in that household were very different, as it’s owner Marty Markowitz explains in the podcast. A fascinating story which explores the therapist-patient relationship between Ike and Marty and how far some people will go to have control and power.
Visit the Wondery website.
True Crime Podcasts: Disappearing Tourists
Set in Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia, The Lighthouse explores the mysterious disappearance of Belgian national, Theo Hayez, an 18 year old backpacker who disappeared after a night out in May 2019.
The podcast was created with “The Australian” newspaper in partnership with Theo’s parents to raise awareness of his disappearance more widely and to see if they could gather any additional information. Groups of locals spent weeks searching the area across the beaches and bush land to find clues and any traces of what happened. Using google tracking data from Theo’s phone they were able to track is final movements before he literally just disappeared. His last known movements lead the search party to the area around the 118-year-old Cape Byron Lighthouse, but with no real evidence of where he went or what happened, a number of theories emerge.
Hear from The Australian newspaper’s national crime correspondent David Murray as he investigates and reports this sad and bizarre mystery. Hear from family members and the committed team of locals who are trying to unravel what happened to Theo. An intriguing yet heart breaking story – discover the theories and all possible scenarios of what happened to Theo?
Check out their website dedicated to the podcast and updates on the search for Theo.
41 years before Theo went travelling to Australia, in 1978, a young, smart and adventurous couple Chris and Peta set off an around the world trip. Sadly they never returned. A year after their disappearance in 1979, two bodies are found however it’s not until 2016 that an arrest is made in connection with their murder.
Dan Maudsley and Stephen Nolan from BBC Five Live investigate and explore what happened to Peta and Chris after they made the fateful decision to join Silas Duane Boston and his two sons, Vince and Russell on his boat in Belize. The plan was to sail down to Costa Rica, however their bodies turned up off the coast of Guatemala. What happened during that journey? Did Boston kill them? And why did it take until 2016 to arrest Silas Duane Boston?
Dan and Stephen journey far and wide to uncover and expose this story. From the Guatemalan who found the bodies, the police detectives in both the USA and the UK who worked on the case at the time, those who picked up the case cold, more recently and of course speaking to Peta and Chris’ distraught family members. It’s a baffling story, with links to the Golden State Killer, a very unfortunate upbringing for Duane Boston, and subsequently his kids too and a number of cases whereby we’re led to question how good of a job did the police really do?
Check out photos, copies of some of the evidence discussed on the show and additional recordings on the official website.
True Crime Podcasts: Con Women
The Fake Heiress
Anna Delvy – socialite, European heiress and con woman. Well she actually was just two of those things, and her name is really Anna Sorokin.
Okay, Anna Sorokin – con woman.
You might have heard about Anna, who, up until 2018 had spent years conning friends out of money, forging documents on her computer, conning BANKS out of $100k and going around telling everyone she was waiting for her $26m trust fund to come through from her Dad.
This podcast explores through interviews with those directly affected by her dishonesty, and with some parts dramatised, how Anna managed to get herself neatly tucked into the NYC socialite scene, how she made and manipulated friends, showed off her so called wealth, wrote and planned and new business and then finally what brought her down.
I loved this podcast because the dramatisations really brought to life the crazy situations Anna managed to get away with. It had me there thinking ‘whaaaat, this was literally 3 years ago. Madness.
The Missing Crypto Queen
Another ‘cast, another con woman. This time about Dr Ruja Ignatova an intelligent yet deceitful character who managed to persuade millions of people to join her financial revolution through a new crypto currency ‘One Coin’. A financial revolution that touched even the most remote places across the world. One minute she was on stage, Alicia Keys “Girl on Fire” as her walk on song, the next minute she had vanished.
But how did she get all these people to invest millions? Across the world? What are the secrets to her success? And where has she gone? Presenter and production team Jamie and Georgia explore all of these questions and more, with so many unexpected twists and turns in this deceitful and devastating tale.
Really intriguing, I loved listening to this. I was totally captivated by this story and how this woman managed to get away with so much, and then just vanish!
Drop any more recommendations for True Crime Podcasts in the comments! I’ll keep listening and adding my latest listens to this post, so check back for more in the future.