This week in True-Crime podcasts: “The Wonderland Murders”

Photo-Illustration: Vulture

the real crime podcast universe is constantly expanding. We’re here to make it a bit smaller and a bit more manageable. There are a lot of great shows, and each one has a lot of great episodes, so we want to highlight the remarkable and the exceptional. Each week our awesome team of podcast enthusiasts and specialists will pick their favorites.

The Wonderland Murders and Hollywood’s Secret History, “The Unreliable Narrator”

Photo: Audible

Author Michael Connelly is perhaps best known for writing a plethora of detective novels, including those about which the Amazon drama series Bosch is based. However, his latest venture has him playing detective, as he explores the Wonderland murders. In this limited Audible podcast series, Connelly conducts interviews and presents to the public his investigation into four unsolved murders that took place in Los Angeles 40 years ago. The first episode finds him speaking with Scott Thorson, infamous for his complicated connection to the late Liberace. A controversial figure on the Hollywood scene, Thorson claims to be a crucial witness to this cold affair. However, even a detective who believes his story describes the man as “one of the best liars in the world.” Is Thorson an unreliable narrator? This is the first question Connelly tries to answer. —Kristy Puchko

Life after happy face, “Is he daddy or the Happy Face serial killer?”

Photo: ART19

Melissa Moore’s latest podcast project connects her with criminologist and forensic friend Dr Laura Pettler to interview people directly affected by homicides, whether they have had dealings with the victims or are are somehow related to the killer – a situation that Moore, the daughter of Happy Face Killer Keith Jesperson, is all too familiar with. Moore’s first podcast, Happy mine, explored this in depth as she revisited her childhood memories and her father’s crimes. His second, Happy Face presents: two faces, centered on another adult child of a killer looking for answers. This first episode of the latest podcast finds Moore in a new phase of her life, freshly divorced and facing the loss of her mother, and wondering if she’s ready to talk to her father and find out the ‘why’ of it all. . Pettler and Moore spend some time revisiting Jesperson’s first crime and Moore’s memories of this period of his life in great detail. But what attracted me was Moore’s brief conversation with retired investigator Paul Holes, and her insight into how she might approach her father. The next episodes will focus on interviews with other people; the second features a friend of Travis Alexander, assassinated by Jodi Arias in 2008. —Jenni Miller

Criminal, “Episode 169: Masquerade”

Photo: Radiotopy

Phoebe Judge’s narrative podcast is at its best when it avoids serious crime altogether and instead focuses on wild and bizarre transgressions that don’t leave a count (see: “Episode 153: The Max Headroom Incident”) – or, in the case of this week’s episode, does not involve a crime at all. “Masquerade” tells the story of British author Kit Williams, whose 1979 picture book included carefully constructed clues that could lead readers to real treasure – a golden hare buried somewhere in Britain. The location of said bunny is just the first mystery in a curvy tale of amateur sleuths, ex-girlfriends and fake mustaches. (Every good caper needs a fake mustache!) I won’t say more, in order to preserve the mystery, but suffice to say, if you need a break from all the murder and mayhem , stand in the “Masquerade” queue and enjoy driving it. –Amy wilkinson

Solved by audiochuck, “The long bridge” and “Bad bridge, false body”

Photo: Audiochunk

It was a cold, rainy night in December 1982 when a truck driver spotted a barefoot woman driving down a highway in Jackson County, Mississippi. It was a strange sight in itself, but what made it more alarming was that a baby was crying in his arms. Shortly after, a dead baby was found on an interstate bridge. For nearly 40 years, this Baby Jane Doe has been at the center of a cold case that included another corpse, reported but never found, and a mysterious witness who went missing. To resolve the case, co-hosts Amanda Reno and Greg Bodker are conducting a series of interviews with police officers and the surviving family members of the newly identified baby. Reno is trained as a genetic genealogist, who has used his skills to identify bodies and assist in police investigations. Bodker offers 26 years of law enforcement experience. Together, they bring the audience back to this wet and horrific winter, accompanied by audio re-enactments, a solemn score and sound effects that create a disturbing atmosphere. [Note: All ten episodes of Solvable will drop on July 19.] —Kristy Puchko

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