The best true crime podcasts

15 September 2017

By Pan Macmillan

These addictive true crime podcasts from around the globe are essential listening for anyone who loves a good mystery. 

 

Serial

The mother of all crime podcasts. The first series of Serial saw Sarah Koenig and her team re-investigating the murder of a Baltimore teenager in 1999. The twists and turns of Koenig’s exploration into whether or not Adnan Syed was wrongly convicted of the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, puts the best fictional whodunnits to shame and has captivated listeners around the world. 

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They Walk Among Us

This bi-weekly British true crime podcast covers a myriad of crimes from around the United Kingdom sharing details of both recent and historic cases ranging from murder and kidnap to fraud. Meticulously researched and well produced, we recommend starting with the ‘stranger than fiction’ case of 'Panama John' from season one.

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Criminal

This highly addictive bi-monthly true-crime podcast is presented by former reporter and host Phoebe Judge, who aims to find the personal angle in each story. Unlike the majority of crime podcasts, Criminal doesn’t focus exclusively on murder, covering every kind of crime imaginable, from the terrifying to the humorous. At around twenty minutes long, their short episodes make perfect commuter listening.

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Casefile

This weekly Australian true crime podcast, presented by an anonymous host, explores shocking, terrifying, strange and unsolved murder cases. Casefile combines extensive research with excellent storytelling and a spooky soundtrack. The Casefile team aim to prove that fact is always scarier than fiction.

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Murder at the Lucky Holiday Hotel

In November 2011 the eyes of the world’s media were trained on the city of Chongqing in south-west China after the discovery of the body of British businessman Neil Heywood in the Lucky Holiday Hotel. This five-part BBC Four podcast unravels the story of Heywood’s murder offering a glimpse into a corrupt, and totally unique judicial system and the case that changed Chinese politics forever.
 
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Sword and Scale

Forensic investigators, true-crime reporters, victims and occasionally even perpetrators contribute to this podcast, which covers all sorts of criminal cases and the criminal justice system's responses to them. The stories, narrated by host Mike Boudet, range from tales of mobsters and heists to court case reports and bizarre mass murders, all true and all fascinating. Sword and Scale aims to go beyond the news clips and sensationalist headlines to give listeners the whole story and deeper insight into criminal cases.

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Unexplained

While not exclusively a crime podcast, Unexplained will certainly appeal to anyone who loves a good mystery. This bi-weekly podcast covers strange and mysterious real life events that continue to evade explanation. Described as ‘the world's spookiest podcast’ by The Guardian, Unexplained is only a year old but has already been streamed more than four million times, and reached number two in the iTunes charts (just behind Serial).

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Up and Vanished

An investigative podcast much like Serial, in fact produced by a self-confessed Serial obsessive Payne Lindsey, Up and Vanished reinvestigates a 12-year-old cold case, this time the unsolved disappearance of high school teacher and beauty queen Tara Grinstead. Over fourteen episodes Lindsey, a film director turned amateur investigator, examines old case evidence and re-interviews persons of interest. Similarly to Serial, Up and Vanished has had real-world outcomes, with new evidence surfacing and and the arrests of two suspects.

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Generation Why

The perfect podcast for anyone who is fascinated by true crime stories but would rather skip the gory details. In this weekly podcast, hosts Aaron & Justin discuss theories and share their opinions on unsolved murders, controversies, mysteries, conspiracies and true crime. In 2012, Justin was a juror on a first-degree murder trial, which sparked numerous conversations with his friend Aaron, which in turn inspired the Generation Why podcast.

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Are You Sleeping

Are You Sleeping

You hear the sensationally successful true crime podcasts, but have you ever thought about what happens to the real people who shoot to fame as a result?

Are You Sleeping, the addictive thriller novel by Kathleen Barber tells the (fictional) story of one such person. When Poppy Parnell sets off a media firestorm with a hit podcast that reopens a cold murder case Josie Buhrman’s carefully constructed world begins to unravel - one she created after leaving behind her torrid past. Will she be able to keep her secret, or will she be found out? 

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