9 podcast you should check out for the summer

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In what has become a regular post now, here I am sharing with you some of my most recent discoveries in the world of podcasts. Of course, I am still and absolutely into Casefile, and continue to be one of their Patreon supporters, but occasionaly I take a break from Casey’s narrative and venture elsewhere.

Below is my latest recommendation (in no particular order whatsoever) for 9 excellent podcast series to delve into this forthcoming summer of ’23.

Bad Women: Blackout Ripper

The streets of wartime London are pitch black and the darkness offers cover to a murderer every bit as terrible as Jack the Ripper. During one awful week in February 1942 he viciously attacks women night after night. But the victims of the so-called Blackout Ripper are now all but forgotten.

In this season of Bad Women, historian Hallie Rubenhold and criminologist Alice Fiennes share new details from the archives to tell the extraordinary and moving stories of the women who died and why their deaths were swept from view.

Bad Women: Blackout Ripper is the second series in the Bad Women podcast.

My view?

I had absolutely loved the Ripper Retold first series, and really enjoy Rubenhold’s writing and storytelling; Blackout Ripper did not bring the same fascination with the period detail that the Retold had, and – coincidentally – is a story I had already heard through Casefile, however I am nit picking as this is as riveting as ever, and a slightly lesser known but just as awful killer’s story.

Good assassins: The Greatest spy of WWII

Season 2 of Good Assassins is the unbelievable but true story of the greatest spy of World War II. The Nazis don’t know her name, but they want this woman dead. A mysterious agent is strategically dismantling their violent grasp on France and not only leading her own resistance factions but inspiring others.

The Gestapo sends their devious double-agent, the priest Robert Alesh, to hunt down The Limping Lady before she threatens their entire push for Western Europe. But Virginia Hall was tougher and more resilient than they ever expected.

Bestselling author and journalist Stephan Talty returns with Season 2 of Good Assassins: the dramatic story of a different kind of spy.

My view?

As with the first season, I really like Talty’s writing and delivery. It is well narrated, the pace is spot on with plenty of re-enactments and interviews with real life protagonists. The retelling of Virginia’s mountain crossing is nailbiting!

What Virginia Hall achieved, was an enormous feat, what courage the woman possesed. Could not recommend this podcast more, for anyone with an interest in history and in human endurance.

Death of an Artist

Was the famous sculptor Carl Andre involved in the death of his up-and-coming artist wife Ana Mendieta? For over 35 years, accusations of murder shrouded one of the art world’s most storied couples.

They were a textbook case of opposites attract. Andre was famous, rich, white, and within the small coterie of the artworld, powerful. Mendieta was a Cuban refugee, a diminutive woman, working at the edge of the Avant Garde. Just months after their wedding, Andre called 911 saying they had a fight and Mendieta “went out the window” of their 34th floor apartment. Death of an Artist tells their story.

My view?

Another hit from Puskin, another (new to me) story of a very interesting life and in this case, death. I did not know of Mendieta or Andre’s art to be frank; the way host Helen Molesworth revisits the time period of their peak artistic success and those years that followed makes for great listening, even if the series dulls down a bit towards the end and loses a little of its edge.

Forgotten: Women of Juarez

In the border city of Ciudad Juárez, hundreds of women have gone missing. The ones that are found have strange symbols carved on their bodies, some have their wrists bound with shoelaces. All are discarded like garbage. The story of Forgotten investigates theories about what or who is responsible—a serial killer, organ traffickers, a Satanic Cult—and pursues an investigation with law enforcement on both sides of the border, terrified witnesses and corrupt authorities

My view?

For those who, like me, have watched Narcos Mexico, the story will not be new. This is what attracted me to try out this pods in the first place, because in the Netflix series this shocking ongoing crime is a side story to the main cartel wars; here it’s centre piece. Well researched, with on the ground interviews and sound bites, and a hard listening yet captivating storytelling by two great hosts.

Mumbai Crime

A curated series of audio fiction podcasts from award-winning creators Ayeesha Menon, Nadir Khan, and John Scott Dryden recorded on the streets of Mumbai, India.

My view?

Immersive fictional podcast, Mumbai Crime by Radiotopia it’s a fun listen and keeps you going back for more. The first series is inspired by the book which inspired Slumdog Millionaire so it will appear familiar; the second is the up and downs in the life of a female police inspector in Mumbai and I am yet to get to the third series. It really transports you to India (so it feels, I haven’t been) and it’s entirely produced in the country. The only thing that I find very annoying is the ‘numeration’ of the episodes which makes it really tricky to figure out which episode you’re on and which ones you need to download next!

Get Sleepy

The podcast that puts you to sleep.

My view?

Oh yes, their claim is actually true. I had tried other similar ‘sleep inducing’ pods back in september, during a couple of sleepless, jet lagged, nights in Asia with not a lot of success, but two weeks ago, finding myself in a similar situation, I came across Get Sleepy and… I fell asleep! It’s a wonderful podcast series and, while many episodes are premium only ( and it’s not a cheap subscription at around £5 a week), you have enough free sessions to help you.

The main host, Tom Jones, has the perfect tone of voice – soothing, calm, clear. Some of the other speakers aren’t as good, and some of the stories bizzare (the lunar new year bunny and cat one was too odd) but mostly, it’s great and it clearly has some knowledge behind (eg breathing techniques).

Life changing!

Demoni Urbani (IT)

Allow me a couple of pods in my mother tongue, and apologies to those who do not speak it. The first one is a true crime series called Demoni Urbani by Francesco Migliaccio, recommended by my friend Loredana.

My view?

Migliaccio’s style is very similar to that of NBC’s Keith Morrison of Dateline and occasionally, I do find him a little bit excessive (some of the words he uses and some of his overly acted sections) but the stories told are italian crimes and most are unknown, hence the name ‘urban demons’. Worth a listen for sure and each episode isn’t too long so makes for a short and sweet break.

The Blackout

Academy Award® winner Rami Malek stars in this apocalyptic thriller as a small-town radio DJ, Simon Itani, fighting to protect his family and community after the power grid goes down nationwide, upending modern civilization.

BLACKOUT stars and is executive produced by Rami Malek and produced by QCODE and Endeavor Content. Written and created by Scott Conroy. Directed by Shawn Christensen.

My view?

I stumbled upon Blackout thanks to one of those ‘on repeat’ ads on other pods… and I am glad I did! It took me a while to finally get to listen but once I managed, I got hooked. Excellent immersive, fictional podcast, it’s obviously really well acted and particularly season 1, very addictive. Grim and dark it is too, but well worth listening to.

Mete Poco Note (IT)

Journalist Luciana Squadrilli writes and hosts this quick, fireside podcast on lesser known destinations with particular focus on food and wine.

My view?

Well some of you might know the host of this particular podcast is related to me (yep, it’s my sister) so I had to add her newly launched pods to my recommendations. It is of course in Italian but the destinations aren’t limited to our home country (in fact, hear the episode on the Arctic circle!).

Mete Poco Note is fast paced (too fast perhaps?) and full of interesting facts, from history to art. Plus has a very cute graphic (but note, that is not my sister in it)!.

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