Spoiler Alert! This review contains spoilers. So if you haven’t listened to West Cork yet and are intending to do so - stop reading now!
In my reviews of the first three episodes of the West Cork podcast I've opened with some general musings about where we stand 25 years after Sophie Toscan du Plantier was murdered.
This week, though, I'll let the episode speak for itself. I don't think I can add anything extra to what is one of the best episodes of anything I've ever listened to.
And we're only four weeks in!
It's taking all my willpower not to binge the rest of the series but I'll try to stay strong.
West Cork Podcast review - Episode 4: Killer among us
From eccentric West Cork characters stealing eggs in the dead of night to a prime Marian Finucane presenting Crimeline to an audience of millions, Episode 4: Killer among us has it all.
It’s in this instalment of the series that the search for Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s killer really kicks into gear and it might be the best one yet.
And that’s saying something because episodes one, two and three weren’t exactly duds.
Opening with the chirpy sounds of the 1996 Schull Christmas swim, filmed on what Sam Bungey describes as a ‘big hulking camcorder’ by local woman Florence Newman and finishing with a final four minutes that brim with Hitchcock levels of intensity, Killer among us will leave you craving more.
Thankfully all 13 episodes are freely available so there’s nothing to stop you from binging but I’d recommend leaving a few days between each listening.
So much is going on here that you’ll need at least 48 hours to digest all the twists and turns.
There’s Fiona, the mysterious woman making calls from a phone box in Cork city, tipping off gardaí about a potential suspect.
The theory of the ‘red mist’ is also explored in detail by Detective Eugene Gilligan.
‘The brain gets into a vicious cycle,’ he says.
‘And literally there is no reasoning outside of doing what you’re doing’.
He posits that the perpetrator of this heinous crime may have been trying to have sex with the victim and when rejected the red mist descended leading to the brutal killing.
Although the murderer's profile begins to emerge in episode four, gardaí suspect a ‘big guy, prone to rage,’ there are still many unknowns which creates tension locally.
Chinese whispers begin to cause rifts across the region.
Fingers are pointed at innocent men.
Anyone familiar with rural Ireland will know that bad news travels fast.
West Cork is no different and with no clear suspect, the ninth commandment falls well down the pecking order of priorities for the people of Schull.
There’s one scenario touted straight out of a John B Keane play.
Local couple Leo and Sally Bolger were looking to upsize and someone suggested to gardaí that they had their eye on Sophie’s property.
Had they pulled a Bull McCabe and killed her over a field they felt was rightfully theirs?
Episode four finishes with a flourish.
The mysterious 'Fiona' is revealed to be Schull-woman Marie Farrell who had previously made statements about a strange man she’d seen wearing a long black coat and a beret-like hat staring at Sophie in town.
It’s revealed that she saw the same man walking the roads near the crime scene late at night in the hours after Sophie was murdered.
The man in question?
None other than the first journalist on the scene who had been covering the case for a variety of outlets across Ireland, the UK and France.
One Ian Bailey.
Our review of Episode 5: A Good Suspect is available here.
If you’d like to get in touch with your own observations, theories or concerns about the West Cork Podcast you can email us at [email protected] or contact me directly on Twitter or Instagram @jayburgkk.
Read the review of Episode 3: Sophie Buoniol.