As a true crime fanatic I was exceptionally excited to learn about Audible’s original series West Cork. This documentary style series examines the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in the small Irish town of Schull in West Cork. Throughout the 13 episodes listeners are provided with not just information about the case itself, but also a detailed analysis of how such an unexpected event changed the people and the perceptions of the town of Schull itself through the work of investigative journalist Sam Bungey and documentarian Jennifer Forde.
West Cork surprised me by presenting me with a story I have never heard of. Now this might make me sound a bit morbid, or perhaps like I watch too much TV and listen to too many podcasts, but there seem to be very few cases that I haven’t heard about in some way either on the Investigation Discovery Channel or the popular podcast My Favorite Murder. The 1996 murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier is the sort of case that would keep even the most adept investigator up at night. With her death happening so close to Christmas while her son and husband were in Paris seems strange, but beyond that the brutality of the death is shocking. Bungey and Forde work to share details of the crime and investigation, but also balance these with discussions of Sophie’s family life and the people who cared about her.
As they delve into the details of the police investigation they explain in great detail how the scene of the crime was left and how the investigators worked through the case. As someone who has never researched Irish police work, I have researched London detectives in great detail previously, I found the time they took to explain how Ireland differs from other countries to be very helpful. Ford and Bungey spend time focusing on the primary suspect in the case and even have a great deal of interview audio with him which shows insight into who he is and his personality. They then supplement this one on one discussion element with comments from other people who know him as well as theories and ideas connected to the idea of him being the possible murderer. Beyond this suspect they also share an interesting theory that I was shocked to hear exists as well as a few other theories. The final episode examines more recent events connected with the case that the creators were surprised by during the summer of their work. True crime lovers will absolutely adore West Cork and as a special perk the original series is currently free on Audible until May 9th.
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