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Summary

Ireland, the 1990s. Eight missing women. Did a serial killer prowl the vanishing triangle? And if so, were they ever caught? 

Between 1993 and 1998, eight women went missing from an area around Dublin that became known as the ‘Vanishing Triangle’. Was there a link? Speculation abounded. There were whispers of a serial killer, responsible for some, if not all, of these cases. But nobody was ever brought to justice.

Twenty years later, the brutal murder of Jastine Valdez disturbs crime Novelist Claire McGowan into action. Reminded, like many in Ireland, of those previous missing women, McGowan brings her skills as a novelist to the real world, setting out to uncover the truth of the vanishing triangle. As she digs deeper, she finds something terrible lurking behind the idyllic image of rural Ireland and the 21st century success story of the ‘Celtic Tiger’. An incompetent police force, a traumatised nation and, a rank, murderous misogyny. 

But are the disappearances linked? Are they linked with other murders? Was there, is there, a serial killer on the loose?

Original music by Sarah Lynch. Sarah Lynch is an award winning Irish film composer who has scored soundtracks across a wide range of genres including film, TV, and games. Most recent projects include ‘Don’t Leave Me’ directed by Hadi Hajaig and a collaboration with the composer Stephen Rennicks on the BBC3/HULU series Normal People. Sarah has also performed live and recorded with artists such as Hozier, Shane McGowan, Mumford and Sons and Ed Sheeran.

©2021 Claire McGowan (P)2021 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about The Vanishing Triangle

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Worth a listen.

Fascinating content overall - some really interesting cases. The author has done some great research but seems to spend as much time discussing abortion rights, gay rights and sexism as she does talking about the cases. There may well be a place for this discussion in the context of the time but this is overkill in my opinion.

It was very interesting overall, although one other minor quibble is the author's insistence that she had never heard of any of these cases in her youth. I am from Ireland and a similar age and these cases were never off the news in my memory (and rightly so). Great to have a book to remind us of crimes we have never solved though. I am still hoping the murders of Fiona Sinnott and Fiona Pender will be solved some day.

36 people found this helpful

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More than just a true crime story

I worked in and around the Vanishing Triangle in the late 90s and early 00s and I was aware that there were several missing women, but listening to this book I realise that I knew almost nothing about them. Yet this book is so much more than a story about missing women. Thoughtful and thought-provoking, terrifying, and terribly sad, it looks at male violence towards women and the place of women and young girls in Irish society. Much has changed there in the last 20 years but - sadly - this book highlights issues that remain relevant, and not just in Ireland.
This is true crime from a feminist perspective and it's definitely worth a listen.

15 people found this helpful

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Not a story, just a rant.

I had hopes that this book would provide insight onto the cases of these missing women in Ireland. However, right from the prologue, it becomes apparent that this book is nothing but the author's rant against Irish society and in particular Irish men. A listener would probably come away with the view that every single Irish male is a misogynistic rapist.

6 people found this helpful

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Totally inaccurate

How dare the author imply that the people of Ireland brushed this under the carpet. I grew up in Ireland during this period (unlike the author who is from the North). These stories were BIG news in Ireland. Everyone was familiar with the names of the victims. Places we had never heard are now well known due to the publicity at the time. I think the authors twisting of the fact to make a story out of such tragedies is appalling and the author should be ashamed of herself. Daughters of Ireland were lost during this time and this is an insult to their memory.

3 people found this helpful

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Fiction-writer adapts fact to suit her narrative

The whole premise that these cases were under/un-reported and little known, seemingly constructed to suit the author's narrative arc and parallel arguments, is just not true. And I say this as a woman the same age as the author who grew up in "The Vanishing Triangle". No one didn't know the details of these cases and the names and faces of Annie McCarrick, Deirdre Jacob, Fiona Pender, JoJo Dullard... There are plenty of valid points to make about the status and treatment of women in Irish society, and probably about errors in and mishandling of the investigations, but this straw man fabrication is inaccurate, lazy, and makes one wonder what level of secondary fact-checking was employed overall. Given the propensity to speculation, weasel words like 'reportedly' (as in, "reportedly" many men in Ireland intended to vote No in the abortion referendum as revenge for the Belfast Rape Trial - citation, please??!) and mad conjecture, it's easy to suspect there was little to none. (Even before the story proper gets underway, the note prefacing the first chapter, explaining that the author intends to refer to "Southern Ireland" because "that's what I've always called it", betrays her tendency to sacrifice accuracy on the altar of suiting herself. And that's before we even get to the shoddy reasoning. "I call it Rhodesia, because that's what I grew up calling it!").

3 people found this helpful

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Dreadfully negative portrayal of Ireland is the primary focus of this text

I’m abandoning this after four chapters.
There are so many tangents and so much extraneous information linking everything negative about Ireland here, one would wonder if this was, in fact, the primary focus of the book, rather than the stories of the missing women. The bishop Casey affair, Magdalene laundries, Savita Halappanavar, Gardai using clairvoyants (as if this was an investigative strategy), the woeful list goes on. Ireland is a pitiful backwater where people exchange tittle tattle but brush the disappearances of missing women under the carpet, according to the author. She claims that people outside of Dublin have not heard of the high profile cases she references. It’s also a place where homophobia and intolerance are rife and in winter it is dark in Ireland at half past three.

There are far better sources of information on these women’s stories. Don’t bother with this.

3 people found this helpful

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Podcast Material

I had been looking forward to this but was disappointed.
Could have been good, there were some interesting facts about the missing women in Ireland but jumped between too many cases, too many topics and had quite an amateur feel to it. Very much like a secondary school essay.
The narrative rambled too much, with too many references to herself and promoting her novels (which I won't be reading).
The writer appeared to have a certain hatred of Ireland, while claiming to be Irish...or British, she wasn't quite sure, depending on the topic she was discussing.
Ironically she made reference to True Crime podcasts, appearing to slag off the genre and presenters, when my thoughts throughout were that this book would have been better presented as a podcast.

2 people found this helpful

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brilliant & important "read"

Well narrated - this book is eye opening to not just these specific events but to systemic misogyny that allows violence against women & femiside to prevail

1 person found this helpful

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Confused

Great narrator and important subject but this book deosnt know what it is about. Flicks from discussing the women who dissapeared in this area to the troubles in Northern Ireland to religion and back in a hap hazzard manor. Pity

1 person found this helpful

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Disappointed

I thought this book was about The Vanishing Triangle. I don't think the title matches the content.
I do appreciate that some victims have been brought to light in this book, women that I haven't heard of that are missing still, which is why I've given it 3 stars on the overall title and story.
However, abortion, religious beliefs and the troubles in Ireland have no place in this book.
I would have preferred that each missing woman be given a complete chapter. And details about the case.
Mary Boyle is also missing from here.
I read a book years ago called Vanished without a Trace, I expected this book to be similar. I am a little disappointed. I wouldn't recommend it or using a credit to listen to it.

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  • rq
  • 10-03-22

Amazing story educating about irelands history

Bought the audio book after listening to they red handed author interview with Claire McGowan. Great information on Ireland’s history and the different factors that affected and still effect women to this day. Thank you providing this resource and for bringing light to these missing women.

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  • Glenna M.
  • 10-09-21

The lost

This is a story not unfamiliar the World over. We did not think it could happen again, but it has… Texas a state in the US has limited abortions to those that do not have a heart beat! This means before the woman knows she is pregnant! Pray for the women of Afghanistan as they bravely face the Taliban. My heart breaks that these stories are not unique. They should be and somewhere there should be a memorial to all the missing around the world. Thank you for bringing Ireland’s missing to life.

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  • Tammy G
  • 13-07-21

Wished it was longer. Absolutely superb

Love the detail and first hand account of life during the troubles and the specific cases of these missing women. Highly recommend!