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  • Writer's picturePodcast Librarian

Death in Ice Valley: Cold case in a cold place

The Premise (from Apple Podcasts):

An unidentified body. Who was she? Why hasn’t she been missed? A BBC World Service and NRK original podcast, investigating a mystery unsolved for almost half a century.

Series or standalone:


Begin listening to:

The Isdal Woman


Investigative reporting


Marit Higraff & Neil McCarthy

Sound/production quality:

Very good

Rating/age suitability:


Approximate length of episodes:

30 minutes

Curricular ties:


Similar recommended pods:

Room 20; Uncover

Podcast Librarian’s Review:

This pod investigates a cold case from the 70s in Norway, which I love because I enjoy some non-USA true crime when I can find it. It covers the murder (or possible suicide) of a woman who was traveling alone (with unusual contents in her suitcase) and found in an area nicknamed Death Valley. Was she a spy or just a loner? Since this case was investigated before the introduction of DNA testing and other modern science, it went cold, but the investigators make some strides with the help of forensic technology. The style in which the story is told is a bit stilted—it’s pretty clearly scripted but is designed to sound like the hosts are chatting about the case. There are also some weird whispery interludes in between segments, but I might be in the minority about not liking that effect. If you don’t like ads, then you’ll love this pod; it doesn’t have any except an ad for another BBC podcast. A really cool aspect of this pod is the conversations with crime writer Gunnar Staalesen. If you know crime fiction at all, then you know Scandinavian authors are some of the best of the genre, so it’s interesting to hear an author speculate about how the events may have played out. Also interesting is how often the hosts reference the Facebook group wherein amateur sleuths ask questions, come up with theories, and in some cases, reveal information that the hosts did not know. I suspect there are other true crime pod groups that do this, but I don’t think many other pods reference the FB sleuths so often and give credence to their ideas. Although the pod doesn’t have a perfect resolution, it sounds like there could be more leads in the case, and the hosts will continue to follow up with new episodes if there is more information. Overall, this is a solid serialized (long-form; 11 episodes) true crime pod.

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