Author Archives: caroline

The Dark Side of True Crime

What if thinking and talking about real life murders was not actually good for us?

Thanks to my guest, Emma Berquist. Find all the details about her books and articles at emmaberquist.com.

Find out more about this episode at shedunnitshow.com/thedarksideoftruecrime

To support the podcast, be part of a superb bookish community, and get two bonus episodes a month, become a member of the Shedunnit Book Club now at shedunnitbookclub.com/join.

Mentioned in this episode:
The Brides in the Bath episode of Shedunnit
The Murder at Road Hill House episode of Shedunnit
The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie
“True Crime Is Rotting Our Brains” by Emma Berquist at Gawker
“There’s Really No Easy Way to Say ‘I Was Stabbed’” by Emma Berquist at Human Parts
Missing Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist
The case of “the Servant Girl Annihilator”
The rescue of Baby Jessica
The Edith Thompson episode of Shedunnit
The Gabby Petito case
Paul Foot on the James Hanratty case
Heavenly Creatures (1994) directed by Peter Jackson
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

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Find a full transcript of this episode at shedunnitshow.com/thedarksideoftruecrimetranscript

Music by Audioblocks and Blue Dot Sessions. See shedunnitshow.com/musiccredits for more details.

The Dark Side of True Crime Transcript

Caroline: Welcome to Shedunnit. I’m Caroline Crampton. The boundary between real life crimes and fictional ones has been blurry for a long time. Writers have been using elements of actual murders in their plots as long as crime fiction has existed. I’ve explored some of the most famous instances from history, such as the cases… Continue Reading

Looking East Transcript

Caroline: Welcome to Shedunnit. I’m Caroline Crampton. One of the reasons that we still read golden age detective fiction today is because of the insights and details it provides into the time in which it was written. That period between the two world wars comes alive to us because of the whodunnits that were published then… Continue Reading

Looking East

Expanding the horizons of golden age detective fiction. Many thanks to my guest, Christopher Huang. You can find out more about his work at ricordius.com. His first mystery novel is A Gentleman’s Murder. Read his article “How Do You Decolonise The Golden Age Mystery? Read More Historical Fiction!” at crimereads.com. Find out more about this episode… Continue Reading

The Queen of True Crime

F. Tennyson Jesse created a way of telling crime stories that still influences us today. Find out more about this episode at shedunnitshow.com/thequeenoftruecrime. To support the podcast, be part of a superb bookish community, and get two bonus episodes a month, become a member of the Shedunnit Book Club now at shedunnitbookclub.com/join. Books mentioned and… Continue Reading

The Queen of True Crime Transcript

Caroline: In the introduction to her 1924 criminological study Murder and Its Motives, the writer F. Tennyson Jesse declared, ‘It has been observed, with some truth, that everyone loves a good murder.’ This was a personal as well as a general observation. Although she had no formal training in law or criminology, the publication of… Continue Reading

The Long Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe Transcript

Caroline: Welcome to Shedunnit. I’m Caroline Crampton. When Edgar Allan Poe published his short story “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” in 1841, he set in motion a chain of events that ultimately lead to me, sitting here, talking to you about detective fiction. Best known in popular culture today for his creepy, supernatural, often… Continue Reading

The Long Shadow of Edgar Allan Poe

The grandfather of detective fiction still has a lot to teach us. Many thanks to my guest, Jim Noy. You can find out more about his work at his blog, theinvisibleevent.com. His book The Red Death Murders is available only from Amazon worldwide (link for UK; link for US). To support the podcast, be part of… Continue Reading

Death By Chocolate

A box of chocolates can conceal a poisonous secret. To support the podcast, be part of a superb bookish community, and get two bonus episodes a month, become a member of the Shedunnit Book Club now at shedunnitbookclub.com/join. Books mentioned: — The Case of the Chocolate Cream Killer by Kaye Jones — The Invention of… Continue Reading

Death By Chocolate Transcript

Caroline: There’s something about the combination of sweetness and poison that was irresistible to the writers of golden age detective fiction. Perhaps it’s merely the symbolism that appealed: the sugary flavour of a treat that conceals the bitter taste of death is the ultimate in contrasts. Maybe there was a practical aspect to it too:… Continue Reading

The Detective’s Best Friend Transcript

Caroline: Every detective needs a companion. A solo sleuth is at a disadvantage in lots of ways: they have no backup in awkward situations, they have only their own skills to rely on, and — crucially — they have no one with whom to share their thoughts in such a way that they are also laid out… Continue Reading

The Detective’s Best Friend

Please join me for a long-awaited guided tour of the role that dogs play in detective fiction. I am running an audience survey for the podcast at the moment to find out more about who my listeners are and what they like and don’t like about the show. If you’d like to help me make… Continue Reading

An Encounter With Father Brown Transcript

Caroline: Welcome to Shedunnit. I’m Caroline Crampton. A bit of housekeeping up front: I am running an audience survey for the podcast at the moment to find out more about who my listeners are and what they like and don’t like about the show. I last did this three whole years ago, and lots of new… Continue Reading

An Encounter With Father Brown

Let’s spend some time with G.K. Chesterton, the first president of the Detection Club. I am running an audience survey for the podcast at the moment to find out more about who my listeners are and what they like and don’t like about the show. If you’d like to help me make the podcast better,… Continue Reading

Agatha’s Archaeologists Transcript

In 1928, Agatha Christie took a momentous decision that was to shape the rest of her life. Her divorce from her first husband had recently been finalised, and after a holiday abroad with her best friend and her daughter, she had plans to travel by herself for a while. Partly, she wanted to indulge her… Continue Reading

Agatha’s Archaeologists

Agatha Christie knew more than most about digging up corpses. There are no major spoilers in this episode, but be aware that there are mentions of plot points from the books listed below. Books and sources: — The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie — Murder in the Mews by Agatha Christie — An… Continue Reading

The Rules (Remastered)

A good detective story has a recognisable rhythm and plot points. But how did these tropes come about? And what happens when you break the rules? This episode of Shedunnit was first released in February 2019 and is repeated here in a rerecorded and remastered version. Find more information about this episode and links to… Continue Reading

A Second Century of Whodunnits

Reading my way through the last hundred years, from the 1920s to the 2020s, one mystery at a time. My previous attempt at this reading project can be found in the episode A Century of Whodunnits. Books mentioned: — Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L Sayers — Malice Aforethought by Francis Iles — Laurels are… Continue Reading

A Second Century of Whodunnits Transcript

About a year ago, many months into being stuck inside because of the pandemic, I embarked on a reading project. I read a crime novel from every decade of the twentieth century — ten whodunnits that spanned the years between 1900 and 2000. It both helped me to get out of a reading rut where I… Continue Reading

The Whodunnit In India

India has a long and deep tradition of storytelling and mythology. What happens when this heritage is combined with the tropes of golden age detective fiction? Thanks to my guest R.V. Raman. His first whodunnit is A Will To Kill and you can find more information about upcoming books in his Harith Athreya series at rvraman.com.… Continue Reading

The Whodunnit In India Transcript

Caroline: Welcome to Shedunnit. I’m Caroline Crampton. An endlessly fascinating aspect of the golden age of detective fiction is its identification with a certain kind of Britishness. Many of the authors who are widely read from the genre’s heyday in the 1920s and 1930s either were from the UK or were based here for some… Continue Reading

The Tichborne Claimant

The golden age of detective fiction was obsessed with identity. The reason why? An extremely melodramatic Victorian legal case involving shipwreck, Shetland ponies and a tangled aristocratic inheritance. For more details on the Shedunnit Production Assistant job, visit shedunnitshow.com/productionassistant. The deadline for applications is 30th January 2022. Please be aware that there may be spoilers… Continue Reading

The Tichborne Claimant Transcript

Caroline: The golden age of detective fiction was obsessed with identity. As soon as you start looking, you see impersonators everywhere in the crime fiction of the 1920s and 1930s — sometimes there’s more than one in a single novel. Without the readily available means of independently verifying that someone was who they claimed to be… Continue Reading

Shedunnit is hiring — Part Time Production Assistant

I am looking for a part time production assistant to help me, Shedunnit creator and host Caroline Crampton, manage the process of creating and promoting the podcast. To start with the position will be one day a week, with the potential to increase this in future if the arrangement proves successful. Since this is a… Continue Reading

A Mysterious Glossary Transcript

Caroline: Welcome to Shedunnit. I’m Caroline Crampton. One of the things I love about reading detective fiction from the 1920s and 1930s – what we call “the golden age” – is what I learn about that time period just from its whodunnits. There’s so much social and cultural history contained in the pages of even… Continue Reading

A Mysterious Glossary

Do you know your ack emma from your pip emma? Would you wear the cat’s pyjamas? Are you, in fact, a goop? Helen Zaltzman joins me to delve into some baffling language from golden age detective fiction. Thanks to my guest for this episode, Helen Zaltzman. She is the host of The Allusionist, a marvellous… Continue Reading

Murder Isn’t Easy

How much did Agatha Christie really know about dead bodies? Thanks to my guest for this episode, Carla Valentine. She is a trained mortuary technician and the technical curator at Barts Pathology Museum in London. She’s also the author of Murder Isn’t Easy: The Forensics of Agatha Christie. I’m doing a festive livestream on December… Continue Reading

Murder Isn’t Easy Transcript

Caroline: Welcome to Shedunnit. I’m Caroline Crampton. Like a lot of murder mystery fans. I consider myself a bit of an expert in the fictional art of murder. I’ve read enough whodunnits now to think that I know how to use phrases like time of death and rigor mortis, at least. But of course the… Continue Reading

Dorothy L Sayers Solves Her Mystery (Queens of Crime at War 6)

Why did she stop writing detective fiction as WW2 approached? This is the sixth and final episode of Queens of Crime at War, a six part series looking at what the best writers from the golden age of detective fiction did once that period came to an end with the start of the Second World… Continue Reading

Dorothy L Sayers Solves Her Mystery Transcript (Queens of Crime at War 6)

Caroline: Welcome to Shedunnit. I’m Caroline Crampton. This is the sixth and final episode of Queens of Crime at War, a series looking at what the best writers from the golden age of detective fiction did once that period came to an end with the start of the Second World War. If this is the… Continue Reading

Ngaio Marsh Goes Home Transcript (Queens of Crime at War 5)

Caroline: Welcome to Shedunnit. I’m Caroline Crampton. This is another episode of Queens of Crime at War, a series looking at what the best writers from the golden age of detective fiction did once that period came to an end with the start of the Second World War. If you haven’t listened to any of… Continue Reading

Ngaio Marsh Goes Home (Queens of Crime at War 5)

Caught between two very different worlds, WW2 forced this queen of crime to become better acquainted with her homeland. This is the fifth episode of Queens of Crime at War, a six part series looking at what the best writers from the golden age of detective fiction did once that period came to an end… Continue Reading

Josephine Tey’s Golden Age (Queens of Crime at War 4)

Something happened to the Scottish writer during WW2 that made her want to write mysteries again. This is the fourth episode of Queens of Crime at War, a six part series looking at what the best writers from the golden age of detective fiction did once that period came to an end with the start… Continue Reading

Josephine Tey’s Golden Age Transcript (Queens of Crime at War 4)

Caroline: Welcome to Shedunnit. I’m Caroline Crampton. This is another episode of Queens of Crime at War, a series looking at what the best writers from the golden age of detective fiction did once that period came to an end with the start of the Second World War. So far in this series, we’ve spent… Continue Reading

Margery Allingham Waits For The Invasion (Queens of Crime At War 3)

For Albert Campion’s creator, the war was her salvation. This is the third episode of Queens of Crime at War, a six part series looking at what the best writers from the golden age of detective fiction did once that period came to an end with the start of the Second World War. The Shedunnit… Continue Reading

Margery Allingham Waits For The Invasion Transcript (Queens of Crime at War 2)

Caroline: Welcome to Shedunnit. I’m Caroline Crampton. This is another episode of Queens of Crime at War, a series looking at what the best writers from the golden age of detective fiction did once that period came to an end with the start of the Second World War. Today’s subject is a writer who started… Continue Reading

E.C.R. Lorac Rises Through The Ranks (Queens of Crime At War 2)

Her WW2 mysteries are best of all. This is the second episode of Queens of Crime at War, a six part series looking at what the best writers from the golden age of detective fiction did once that period came to an end with the start of the Second World War. The Shedunnit Pledge Drive… Continue Reading

E.C.R. Lorac Rises Through The Ranks Transcript (Queens of Crime At War 2)

Caroline: Welcome to Shedunnit. I’m Caroline Crampton. This is another episode of Queens of Crime at War, a series looking at what the best writers from the golden age of detective fiction did once that period came to an end with the start of the Second World War. Today, we’re focusing on a writer who… Continue Reading

Queens of Crime at War

A six part mini series looking at what the best writers from the golden age of detective fiction did once that period came to an end with the start of the Second World War. Episode 1: Agatha Christie Writes Alone Agatha Christie had a very productive WW2. Episode 2: E.C.R. Lorac Rises Through The Ranks… Continue Reading

Agatha Christie Writes Alone (Queens of Crime At War 1)

Agatha Christie had a very productive WW2. This is the start of Queens of Crime at War, a six part series looking at what the best writers from the golden age of detective fiction did once that period came to an end with the start of the Second World War. This episode also marks the… Continue Reading

Agatha Christie Writes Alone Transcript (Queens of Crime At War 1)

Caroline: Welcome to Shedunnit. I’m Caroline Crampton. This is the start of Queens of Crime at War, a series looking at what the best writers from the golden age of detective fiction did once that period came to an end with the start of the Second World War in 1939. There are six episodes, each… Continue Reading

At Home With Shedunnit Transcript

 Guy: Hello. Welcome to Shedunnit. My name is Guy Cuthbertson. I am husband of Caroline Crampton and I am going to be interviewing Caroline today because this is a special episode, celebrating the fact that Shedunnit is reaching its third birthday.  So we’re going to be talking about three years of making this wonderful… Continue Reading

At Home With Shedunnit

 Who would be the Hastings to your Poirot? What kind of mystery would you like to write? What would you do if you came across a corpse? In this special episode to celebrate Shedunnit’s third anniversary, Caroline’s husband Guy takes the mic and asks her all these questions and more. Guy is on Twitter… Continue Reading

Double Trouble Transcript

Caroline: A good mystery is a contest between writer and reader. If observing the conventions of fair play that were popular in the 1920s and 1930s, the writer must be transparent with the reader about clues and suspects. No springing an unlikely murderer on the reader at the eleventh hour is allowed. But at the… Continue Reading

Double Trouble

What happens when two people write a whodunnit together? Thanks to my guests, Cordelia Biddle and Steve Zettler. They write separately under their own names and together under the pseudonym Nero Blanc. The whole Crossword Mysteries series can be found at crosswordmysteries.com, where there are links to buy each title. There are no spoilers in… Continue Reading

The Theatrical World of Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie was the most successful female playwright of all time. She also wrote some detective novels you might have heard of. Julius Green is the author of Agatha Christie: A Life in Theatre, available in paperback now at all good booksellers. You can catch him at the International Agatha Christie Festival in Torquay on… Continue Reading

The Theatrical World of Agatha Christie Transcript

Caroline: Agatha Christie is a very well known writer, to put it mildly. Her novels and short stories have been translated into dozens of languages, she’s a household name all over the world, and her books are still selling in their millions nearly half a century after her death. Her characters are forever being reincarnated… Continue Reading

Murder On Holiday (Replay)

This summer, you can still travel to the murderous destinations visited by your favourite detectives. While I take a holiday myself, please enjoy this classic episode of Shedunnit. First aired in July 2020, it’s all about how and why golden age sleuths solve mysteries while away from home. My new map and guide, Agatha Christie’s England,… Continue Reading

Is Agatha Christie A Good Writer? Transcript

Caroline: Since you’re listening to this podcast, I feel fairly confident in saying that you think Agatha Christie wrote some good books. There’s a high probability that you decided to listen to me talking about detective fiction because you have, at some point, enjoyed a novel by the so called Queen of Crime. But just… Continue Reading

Is Agatha Christie A Good Writer?

Her plots are second to none. But is the Queen of Crime a true literary great? Thanks to my guest, Sophie Hannah. Her latest Poirot continuation novel is The Killings at Kingfisher Hill and is available from all good booksellers. Find out more about all of her books at sophiehannah.com and follow her on Twitter… Continue Reading

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