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Rare aul crimes Nation’s obsession with true crime on the rise with books, podcasts and documentaries topping charts

Armchair sleuths lapping up investigations


Madeleine McCann story is one of the most fascinating crime stories in the world

Madeleine McCann story is one of the most fascinating crime stories in the world

Madeleine McCann story is one of the most fascinating crime stories in the world

The nation’s obsession with true crime is on the increase with a swathe of books, podcasts and documentaries all topping the charts in their respective genres.

Netflix, Amazon and other streaming platforms have facilitated the fascination viewers have with murder and mystery, while Apple, Soundcloud, Spotify and other platforms are fast filling up with podcast series telling stories of grisly death and unsolved crimes.

While macabre, it appears that it is the golden age of crime where armchair viewers and listeners can get up close and personal with the tiny intricacies of crime scenes and follow the twists and turns of investigations.

Danish-made The Investigation was released to huge acclaim last year. Based on a true story, it follows the head of homicide for Copenhagen police for six months as he and his team investigate the murder of Swedish journalist Kim Wall, who was killed on a submarine.

Over the course of the six part series, viewers follow Jens Moller on the ‘Submarine Case’ through the intricacies of how it is solved, and it has been a hugely popular hit on the RTE player.

The growing field of podcasting has seen huge success for true crime and, in particular, lengthy series which either follow an unsolved case in detail over a number of episodes or those like Crime World, which interviews guests in detail about aspects of crime.

West Cork, which was once available at a price on Audible, has recently hit the free-to-listen platforms and topped the Apple charts in Ireland in its first week.

Where Is George Gibney?, about the convicted offender, proved hugely popular on BBC Sounds, while The Nobody Zone about homeless serial killer Kieran Patrick Kelly has been sold on in five languages.

But it’s not just the Irish who have a liking for the dark underbelly of crime.

A new study carried out by True Crime Mania found that unsolved crimes have kept fans most interested and that the mystery of what happened missing Madeleine McCann is the most fascinating crime story in the world.

The website also discovered that other crimes that intrigued web sleuths, viewers, listeners and readers are the murder of Jon Benet Ramsey and the infamous Black Dahlia Case.

Six-year-old Jon Benet was a child beauty queen who was killed in her home in Boulder, Colorado in 1996. Her father John found her body in the basement seven hours after she had been discovered missing. She had been strangled and sustained a broken skull.

The crime is still unsolved and, like the McCann case, has resulted in a vast amount of unfounded allegations and conspiracy theories levelled at her parents.

The Black Dahlia case is one of the oldest unsolved murders of a woman which has come with decades of theories and leads. Elizabeth Short was 23 when she was discovered dead in a park in Los Angeles. She had been mutilated and her corpse was bisected at the waist. The life and death of the aspiring actress has resulted in numerous books and films.

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“All of the world’s most-searched unsolved crimes involve female victims, showing the massive public interest in the cases that affect women or girls,” True Crime Mania states. “Search data for the world’s top unsolved mysteries and their related documentaries on Netflix and IMDb reveal which have kept the world most captivated and how this has impacted their development in the last year.

“The study found that of the eight most searched-for cases that saw spikes in interest over the last year, all of them reported female victims — although some also impacted men. None of the cases reported no female victims at all, showing both a high rate of public engagement with crimes that involve women or young girls, as well as highlighting the higher incidence of serious crimes that involve women.”

Included in the top ten cases were the Zodiac Killer, Jack the Ripper, Lizzie Borden, the Keddie Murders and the Watcher, about the real life stalker who terrorised a family for years.

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Online Editors