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The best true crime podcasts from around the world

A smartphone playing a podcast with the title 'International true crime podcasts'

Since Serial ignited the true crime podcast craze back in 2014, a whole host of similarly gripping shows have emerged. The most well-known ones delve into cases from the UK and the US, but there’s plenty more that shed light on shocking mysteries from all over the world.

Here are some international true crime podcasts that should be on your radar.

Australia: The Teacher’s Pet

What happened to Sydney-based wife and mother Lynette Dawson, who seemingly vanished into thin air in 1982? This hit podcast from Down Under takes a deep dive into one of Australia’s longest-running mysteries and reveals a surprisingly squalid story of predatory behaviour, sexual grooming, and sinister machinations. And, once you complete the series, you can immediately get stuck into the equally engrossing follow-up, The Teacher’s Trial.

Malta: Who Killed Daphne?

It’s no exaggeration to say that Daphne Caruana Galizia was one of the world’s bravest journalists. For years, she fearlessly exposed government corruption and shady deals between gangsters and corporate figures in Malta, shrugging off the many death threats that came her way. Then, in October 2017, one of those threats was followed through, when Daphne was killed by a car bomb. Unfolding on the gorgeous island of Malta, this podcast looks at the secrets Daphne exposed during her crusading career and untangles the truth behind her murder. It’s both an eye-opening exposé of an appalling killing, and a celebration of one incredible woman’s quest for the truth.

New Zealand: The Commune: Sex, Drugs – and a Guru Called Bert

If you find stories of cults compelling, then this podcast is for you. It’s the strange and sinister saga of Centrepoint, a free-spirited hippy commune that emerged in Auckland, New Zealand in the late 1970s. It was led by Bert Potter, a charismatic guru who encouraged his followers to transcend social norms together. But the commune’s taboo-breaking went much further than outsiders realised, with Potter presiding over a regime of rampant drug use and sexual abuse. He was later revealed to have ‘systematically corrupted children’, encouraging others to accept his warped view of the world. Featuring interviews with those who were there, this is a grim but undeniably gripping listen.

Japan: The Evaporated: Gone With the Gods

Created by Jake Adelstein, whose book Tokyo Vice was recently adapted by HBO, this unique podcast charts his personal experience of a Japanese phenomenon: the sudden disappearances of ordinary people. It begins with Jake’s friend and accountant Morimoto ‘evaporating’, an inexplicable development that leads Jake to explore why around 80,000 people a year ‘flee’ from their own lives in Japan. While crime is certainly a part of it, the real power of the podcast comes from its exploration of these widespread vanishings, and how a whole industry of ‘night movers’ has sprung up to cater to people who want to escape.

India: Death, Lies & Cyanide

One of the most appalling crimes of modern Indian history is chronicled in this podcast, which tells the horrific story of Jolly Joseph: a seemingly upstanding wife and mother who killed six members of her family over the course of fourteen years. A regular churchgoer, described by friends as compassionate and loving, Jolly Joseph began killing in 2002 when she laced her mother-in-law’s soup with cyanide. But what led her to start killing those closest to her over so many years, and what other secrets did Jolly conceal?

Latin America: Suspiria

Unlike the other podcasts in this list, which focus on one case or phenomenon, Suspiria is an episodic series that looks at a whole variety of crimes. What they have in common is geographical location, all having unfolded in Latin America. The eclectic nature of the show means you never know where it’ll go next. One minute you’ll be hearing about the ‘teen psychopath of Chihuahua’, the next you’ll get the details of the first known serial killer in Brazil. By turns creepy, irreverent and shocking, this is a whistle-stop ghost train ride through an entire continent.

Bulgaria: The Missing Crypto Queen

Where is Ruja Ignatova? One of the world’s most-wanted fraudsters, the Bulgarian-born businesswoman first came to the world’s attention in 2014 when she launched a cryptocurrency that she claimed would be bigger than Bitcoin. But, rather than being a legitimate currency founded on the blockchain, her ‘OneCoin’ enterprise was simply a jumped-up Ponzi scheme that allowed Ignatova to defraud victims out of more than $4 billion. Then, the woman who’d once wowed crowds at Wembley Arena, simply vanished. She’s now the only woman on the FBI’s Most Wanted Fugitives List and the focus of this must-listen podcast that reveals the dark side of the crypto bubble.

Australia: Who Killed Dr Bogle & Mrs Chandler?

We’re back in Australia for the last entry on our list – a close analysis of a particularly mysterious cold case dating back to New Year’s Day 1963, when the brilliant physicist Dr Gilbert Bogle and his apparent lover, Margaret Chandler, were found dead on the banks of a river in Sydney. What made the discovery so weird was that police could not determine how the pair had actually died. What’s more, the prime suspect had an alibi that was both startling and scandalous. The case, described by one detective as the ‘mystery of the century’, is laid bare in a podcast that also provides a portrait of the surprisingly bohemian, sex-mad subculture of Sydney’s intelligentsia at that time.