Last week I began to introduce a series of my three favorite true crime podcasts when I reviewed The Trail Went Cold. This week I will be exploring another podcast that focuses on true crime although it may appeal to a slightly different audience.
Once Upon a Crime is produced and narrated by Esther Ludlow. Each Monday a new episode is released on their website, iTunes, Google Play and Stitcher. The podcast released their first episode on June 8th, 2016 and as of February 4th of this year they released their 118th episode. A typical episode of Once Upon a Crime ranges from about 35 minutes to 1 hour.
What makes Once Upon a Crime unique from many other true crime podcasts is that Ludlow decides on monthly themes and then covers crimes that fit within that category. For example, the first month of the podcast covered the theme “lost and found” about people who had been kidnapped and eventually escaped their captors, then in another month the theme was “fatal fans” where she focused on celebrities who were killed by their fans.
Ludlow introduces the theme at the beginning of the month in detail and refreshes listeners at the start of each episode. Next she tells the story of what happened in the case and will occasionally interject some of her personal humor and opinion. To date there are no unsolved cases featured on Once Upon a Crime so the listener will always walk away satisfied knowing the outcome.
The biggest strength of the podcast is the theme changes each month. This allows listeners to enjoy more of a variety instead of the same type of crime each time. It also provides fans with a chance to learn and hear about cases they have likely never heard of and get into much more detail into ones they have. Each October and December the podcast focuses on crimes that have a Halloween or Christmas connection to them. Another positive aspect about the changing themes is that if for any reason the listener does not like hearing about the genre of crimes for the month, four weeks later the theme will change.
Similar to The Trail Went Cold, Once Upon a Crime has a good online presence and on social media with their Facebook account and Twitter account that boasts almost 7,000 followers. The website is simple in design but very easy to use. The three main tabs on the front page allow visitors to search for crimes they wish to hear about via categories or listen to episodes they wish by the month they were released.
As with any podcast, there is always room for improvement and some criticism. The biggest drawback from Once Upon a Crime is the way in which it is delivered by Ludlow. She clearly does a very thorough job in researching each case and is passionate about true crime however it sounds at times like she is just reading off a page and there are several times throughout the series I found myself having to rewind and listen to what I just heard over again because I began to tune it out.
Overall Once Upon a Crime is one of my favorite true crime podcasts due to the variety and how interesting the topics of each episode are. The chunk of time devoted to listening to this podcast is always a good part of the week.