Sunday, June 7, 2015

A New Favorite: Mystery Show Podcast

A good story should do one thing over all others, and that's force you to read/listen/watch until the end because you have to know how it will turn out.  Starlee Kline, of This American Life and Marketplace radio fame, has a new podcast, MYSTERY SHOW, that is some of the most compelling storytelling I've heard in a long time.

Please, I want this on a t-shirt!
The premise is beautiful in its simplicity--Each week, Starlee investigates a mystery that cannot be solved by the internet.  Like any seasoned detective, she goes into the field doing interviews, knocking on doors, and getting braced by thugs in alleyways.  (This last one isn't true.)

Fat Tony don't like you snooping' where you ain't supposed to, Starlee.
What's great about these mysteries is that they're not of the V.I. Warshawski/Veronica Mars/Maddie Hayes (yes, I can name a bunch of women detectives without Googling them, suckers) kind with guns and lives on the line, but the more of the common, everyday mysteries that happen to all of us that take root likes weeds in the back of our brains.  That Kline can make these seemingly mundane mysteries so compelling is a tribute to Kline's storytelling, personality, and interviewing skills.

So far she's investigated:
What happened to the video store that completely vanished the day after Starlee's "client" rented a video from there? - Episode #1

How did Brittany Spears end up with a copy of Starlee's client's novel that sold only a few copies? - Episode #2

Who is the owner of the awesomely cool belt buckle that was found in a gutter over twenty years ago? - Episode #3

Simple mysteries, right?  But man, all completely gripping.  Last week's episode about the belt buckle was the best yet, and I pretty much teared up near the end.  There's this perfect moment of absolute joy where someone gets choked up, and then dammit, I'm driving along and getting choked up, too.

Damn allergies.

Kline's one of those people you really just wish you knew.  She makes connections with people, sometimes detouring the mystery for awhile by getting to know the people she's interviewing, and sometimes even helping them.  Just try not to love her after listening to her talk with the guy at Ticketmaster in Episode #2.  It's great radio, and what makes MYSTERY SHOW one of my favorite discoveries of the summer.

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