Crime Girl Gang 'solve' cold cases

PUBLISHED: 11:55 17 May 2019

Victoria Slotover and am image of her crime girl podcast

Victoria Slotover and am image of her crime girl podcast

ANDREW MARSHALL

A trio of female crime writers have started a true crime podcast in which they try to crack cold cases with their imaginitive skills.

Victoria Slotover and am image of her crime girl podcastVictoria Slotover and am image of her crime girl podcast

A trio of female crime writers have started a true crime podcast in which they 'solve' cold cases with their imaginitive skills.

West Hampstead author Victoria Selman, Elle Croft and Niki Mackay hatched a plot to create the Crime Girl Gang podcast after meeting at the annual Crime Fest event.

Cases so far have included 60s serial killer 'Jack the Stripper,' who dumped his strangled victims on the Thames foreshore around Hammersmith. The latest podcast, recorded live at The Joker last Thursday, examines the case of Somerton Man, who was found on an Australian beach in 1948.

"We are all crime writers who analyse cold cases and solve them from a fictional perspective," says Selman.

Victoria Slotover and am image of her crime girl podcastVictoria Slotover and am image of her crime girl podcast

"We've had a great reponse and been asked to bring the podcast live."

The trio select knotty international cases that police have failed to crack.

"Somerton Man is the twistiest case," adds Selman. "No-one knows how he died but in his pocket they found a strip of paper with a Persian phrase meaning ended."

It was torn from a copy of the Rubaiat of Omar Kyham discovered nearby. On the book was written a telephone number and a phrase in indecipherable code. Investigations suggested the well dressed victim had been poisoned, with possible links to spying. But could an ex lover know more?

Victoria Slotover and am image of her crime girl podcastVictoria Slotover and am image of her crime girl podcast

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"It was the height of the Cold War, they appealed to Scotland Yard and the FBI but he wasn't ID-ed and no one knows who did it."

Croft has travelled to Adelaide to interview people connected to the case, and brings her findings to the live event.

Slotover, who studied creative writing at the City Lit and saw her debut novel Blood For Blood shortlisted for the 2017 Debut Dagger, says crime writers are "constantly asking questions." "We are used to inhabiting a character and their experience, and can bring our questioning and creativity to find a solution."

She adds: "There's always been a fascination with the perpetrators, but every crime has a victim and we are trying to bring more of who they were to our podcast. What was so sad about the 'Angel of the Meadow' case of a woman's body dug up by construction workers in Manchester, was that she was never identified. We talked about who she could have been, and what might have brought her there."

Selman's "area of fascination" is serial killers and the hero of her books is a criminal profiler tracking them down.

"There's a rubbernecker element to why we are we drawn to these horrific things," she says.

"But that is driven by fear, as if by understanding the awfulness we can protect ourselves from it. There's a survival element. Women are more interested in true crime because we are more often victims of it, and there's that need to look after ourselves."

Asked why true crime is having such a moment, she adds: "It's that human need to understand what makes a person kill stranger after stranger until they are stopped. When they are caught, people often say 'I would never have expected it of them'. Perhaps crime fiction is so popular because it gives closure to a horrible crime. There's the feeling of safety from an awful story where the killer will always get caught."

Blood For Blood was inspired by a true life disappearance of Agatha Christie who when discoverd had no recollection of what had happened.

"The truth is definitely stranger than fiction."

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