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West Cork by Sam Bungey
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West Cork (edition 2018)

by Sam Bungey (Author), Sam Bungey (Narrator), Jennifer Forde (Narrator), Audible Originals (Publisher)

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505328,139 (3.6)6
Member:sylviawrigley
Title:West Cork
Authors:Sam Bungey (Author)
Other authors:Sam Bungey (Narrator), Jennifer Forde (Narrator), Audible Originals (Publisher)
Info:Audible Originals (2018)
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West Cork by Sam Bungey

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A free download from audio about a true unsolved crime that occurred in West Cork. The authors do a bit of investigative reporting. It was okay, some of what they had for evidence was difficult to hear but the represented the quality of what they had to work with. The questions all remain, this does not provide any answers but it was interesting. ( )
  Kristelh | Mar 22, 2018 |
West Cork is a true-crime audiobook/podcast about an unsolved murder which took place in the remote Irish village of Schull in 1996.

In the 1970s Schull began to attract ‘blow-ins’ from the rest of Ireland, Britain and beyond. Some were people looking for an alternative lifestyle, others were perhaps trying to escape trouble at home. Later, the artistic community they had created attracted more well-heeled people looking for holiday homes.

Sophie Toscan du Plantier was a French documentary maker married to a high-profile film producer, who enjoyed the tranquillity and anonymity of her cottage in Schull. She was staying there alone when she was brutally murdered just before Christmas in the lane outside her home.

The documentary borrows many of the techniques of crime fiction to keep the listener hooked. Bungey and Forde begin by telling you the crime is unsolved, but one man is widely suspected and has brought legal action as a result. They then present the voices of a number of people from the community before revealing who the suspect is. This is clever because it makes you question your own perceptions. Up until then those voices had all seemed equally reliable and credible, now what you have heard so far is undermined. Who is lying and who is to be believed?

People describe how the community’s sense of itself was fractured. Before the murder they believed their remoteness offered protection from the ills of society, afterwards it meant vulnerability. The romantic ideal of living in a small town where everyone knows everyone has its downside – what if you genuinely believe the neighbour you have to see every day has got away with murder? What if you are the one accused?

The structure also has echoes of a courtroom drama, even though there has never been a murder trial. When the main suspect is named, the story focuses on all the reasons why the police believe he did it and the evidence that supports their supposition. The case is quite persuasive for the listener. But then later episodes go through all the flaws in the police’s investigation and methodology, and question the reliability of one witness in particular. It is then quite possible to see that, while the main suspect has many unappealing qualities, that does not necessarily make them a murderer.

The Gardai, the Irish police, are also on trial here, for the many failures in procedure as well as some poor luck, which meant that no forensic evidence was gathered. (The only specialist scene of crime team was based in Dublin, over two hundred miles away, and it took them twelve hours to reach the village.) There are also recordings which show, in that age-old tradition, that the Gardai were convinced they knew who was responsible, and looked for evidence to confirm it, rather than following up all leads, which meant a number of opportunities to gain reliable and timely evidence were missed.

Of course, this is not fiction so there is no neat conclusion, but the series neatly doubles back to Sophie’s family and how they have dealt with the aftermath of the crime, reminding us that there are real victims, and that they are still living with the consequences of this crime. ( )
  KateVane | Mar 9, 2018 |
This is a 13-episode non-fiction true crime podcast which was presumably available initially on a weekly basis on iTunes and such, but which has now been collected as an audiobook and is available for free until April, 2018 on Audible (I think in both Canada and the USA). There is an introductory Audible page with a timeline, cast of characters and an episode guide at https://www.audible.com/mt/west-cork .

It is very well done in terms of research and technical work by co-producers / co-narrators Sam Bungey and Jennifer Forde. The unsatisfying element is that there is no real solution to this now over 21-year-old unsolved crime and it doesn't seem as if any new theories are offered. It is more of a documentation of how the Irish Garda police developed a theory based on an unlikeable local non-native Englishman who had domestic violence on his record and they then seem to have attempted to frame him for the crime as there was no actual forensic evidence to tie him to it. The podcast then becomes a reconstruction of the 21-year history of all of that which still leaves the actual case unsolved. The episode construction is well done and there are elements of suspense as characters change their stories and alibis over time. Many will still find it engrossing but the usual draw for a cold case mystery is that a previously unknown solution is offered. That is not the case here but if you are willing to let go of that then the reconstruction of the history (done in only the past 3 years if I understand correctly) is still an excellent achievement. ( )
  alanteder | Mar 2, 2018 |
This was the story of the 1996 murder of French film maker Sophie Toscan du Plantier in West Cork, Ireland. This was done in documentary form. The main suspect was Ian Bailey who was twice tried for the crime and acquitted. Ian was a narcissist who loved being the spotlight; it is easy to see why people despised him. He thrice beat his live-in partner; once so bad that she had to be hospitalized. This is a great story and not over yet, as Bailey is now in France waiting to be tried there--he just lost his second appeal in February to have the charges dropped. The story was good, if a tad too long.

The performance and audio were horrendous! Half of the time I had to hold my ereader to my ear to be able to hear the dialogue. Very cheap sound effects were used which distracted from the story such as rain that only sounded like static. But then, you do get what you pay for and this was free! 2 1/2 stars ( )
  tess_schoolmarm | Mar 2, 2018 |
West Cork is a true crime podcast series investigating the murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in Ireland 20 years ago. Sophie was a French film producer and was killed while on vacation alone in West Cork, Ireland just before Christmas in 1996.

Journalist Sam Bungey and Documentary Producer Jennifer Forde investigate the case over the course of 13 episodes including multiple interviews with prime suspect Ian Bailey.

The case was incredibly layered and complex and I was impressed by the logical approach the investigators took in outlining the various aspects of the case and somewhat flawed investigation by the Guards; Ireland's Police Force. Bungey and Forde gained an enormous level of access to Ian Bailey, primarily due to the fact Bailey seems to like the attention. He's a narcissist guilty of domestic violence who loves the spotlight a little too much, but is he a killer?

This was my first time using Audible and I was utterly gripped by the listening experience and the true crime investigation. It was the audio equivalent of binge-watching Making a Murderer on Netflix.

By the conclusion of the final episode I was left wanting more, but I guess that's inevitable in a case that is still active and technically unsolved. I'm interested to know who Bungey and Forde think is responsible for murdering Sophie and what they hope will happen now the case is gaining international recognition. (It's already a significant and well-known cold case in France and Ireland). I hope Sophie's family get justice soon.

West Cork is compelling listening and is recommended for listeners, viewers and readers of true crime.

* Copy courtesy of Audible * ( )
1 vote Carpe_Librum | Feb 19, 2018 |
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