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  • Summary

  • [Contains Mature Themes] This much we do know: Sophie Toscan du Plantier was murdered days before Christmas in 1996, her broken body discovered at the edge of her property near the town of Schull in West Cork, Ireland. The rest remains a mystery.

    Gripping, yet ever elusive, join the real-life hunt for answers in the year's first not-to-be-missed, true-crime series. Investigative journalist, Sam Bungey, and documentarian, Jennifer Forde, guide listeners through the brutal, unsolved murder and the tangled web of its investigation, while introducing an intricate cast of characters, a provocative prime suspect, and a recovering community whose story begs to be heard.

    When you add West Cork to your library you will receive all 13 episodes, each with a runtime of approximately 30 minutes.

    ©2018 Audible Originals, LLC (P)2018 Audible Originals, LLC
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Episodes
  • Ep. 1: Blow-Ins

    Feb 7 2018
    [Contains Mature Themes] West Cork, Ireland is an outpost at the edge of Europe. Rugged, windswept, and coastal, it was a region of farmers and fisherman until the 1960s, when it was discovered by the “blow-ins” - artists, urban runaways, and people who drove until the road ran out. It was a haven for those wanting to turn their backs on their old lives and start over. But then there was a murder in West Cork, and everything changed overnight.
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    27 mins
  • Ep. 2: The Back of Beyond

    Feb 7 2018
    [Contains Mature Themes] A body is found at the end of a path leading to three houses. The police, known in Ireland as “the Guards,” have little experience with serious crime in West Cork, and the victim - a French woman with a holiday home in the area - is a mysterious figure to locals. That night, as news of the murder makes its way through the community, everyone begins to question if they were ever truly safe.
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    27 mins
  • Ep. 3: Sophie Bouniol

    Feb 7 2018
    [Contains Mature Themes] Born Sophie Bouniol, the well-connected French film producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier was 39 when she was murdered. In a place where no one could remember the last time a murder occurred, locals speculated that the killer must be an outsider. Rumours about Sophie and her love life, fueled by tabloids, flourished. But her quieter, more bookish side was reflected in the simple, white house she kept in West Cork, and known to those who loved her most.
    Show More Show Less
    36 mins

What listeners say about West Cork

Average customer ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not, by any means, an impartial account

This podcast makes interesting, if somewhat slow-moving, listening. However, it is very much a ‘he said, she said’ account without much focus on evidence (perhaps, in part, due to the lack of evidence produced at the crime scene). Essentially, it is a heavily-dramatised point of view – the prime suspect in his own words. The reporting duo seem to have had unfettered access to the suspect, and much of the audio is given over to his musings. Perhaps Sam Bungey and Jennifer Forde know what side their bread is buttered on – it wouldn’t be such a lengthy podcast without these musings – or perhaps they simply spent too much time with him during their own investigations: aside from casting a sprinkling of doubt on what he proposes, they very much defend his point of view throughout their own commentary.
I happen to be familiar with the community where this happened. My own grandmother hailed from this area, and I spent many a summer in the countryside surrounding Schull. I now live in the UK. One thing that strikes me is that there are very few real West Cork accents on here. They also spend much time on and make much of the assertion that he was set up because he was an Englishman living in a beautiful but fundamentally narrow-minded and xenophobic rural community (not my impression of the place, but perhaps I am biased). This is bound to attract sympathy from many quarters, but I don’t believe it rings entirely true. Perhaps, instead, the investigation focussed on him because he was in the area, knew the suspect and where she lived, has a violent (and very possibly narcissistic) personality, produced an unreliable alibi and had many inconsistencies in his story.

46 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Amazing Story Brilliantly Presented!

This is a story about the unsolved murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, a young French woman who was staying in West Cork. She was brutally killed on a lonely country road and as yet despite the passing years no-one has been brought to account for it. What unfolds is a fascinating story of conflicting evidence and a quite shambolic police investigation. The program involves interviews with many of the people involved and some particularly eye-opening recorded conversations. The story is compelling, the characters involved fascinating, the reporting excellent.

Sam Bungey and Jennifer Forde have produced a most thoroughly researched documentary, they have spent significant time putting this together and it shows. They deliver an excellent feeling for the location and get quite intimate with the prime suspect Ian who is genuinely fascinating. Without giving too much away his behaviour will at times have you developing all manner of opinions about him. It becomes easy to understand that he doesn't do himself any favours while at the same time the investigation into the case and the behaviour of the others involved, especially the police is often equally bizarre.

Bungey and Forde stay professional throughout, leading their audience carefully through the evidence without trying to direct opinion, it's a very fine line they tread. Their extremely erudite presentation coupled with all the source material gained over countless interviews is sympathetic to all concerned; Ian: the victim's family and even some of the rather erratic witnesses and police officers.

This has to be the best of the Audible documentaries that I have listened to and the recently added Aftershow hints their might be more to come. I would certainly be interested in that!

Update: May 2019, there has been a significant though not conclusive development so if you have recently enjoyed this it is worth googling the story to see what else has happened.

90 people found this helpful

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Real life crime documentary 5*

I incorrectly assumed this was a ‘fictional’ audio drama, it isn’t though am not disappointed.

West Cork retells the story of Sophie Toscan du Plantier’s tragic death, using historic audio footage and interviews with most of those involved in the case some 20 years ago. Many of the aspects of the tragedy are so unbelievable, implausible, that I was swept along with utter fascination.

Sam Bungey and Jennifer Forde have put together a superb 13-part documentary which is both rivetting and informative.

RIP Sophie Toscan du Plantier

71 people found this helpful

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Complex story revealing in ways beyond whodunnit

After thinking this would be the latest cashing-in on a sad story, it soon became clear how interesting the case was - and illustrative, beyond the unresolved whodunnit plotline, of how incestuous rural communities control each other and project insecurities onto 'blow-ins' - a cute word here for anti-English xenophobia - to the point of overriding the presumption of innocence per French law. West Cork was great but the place sounds ghastly and run like a gang.

4 people found this helpful

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Incredible story - what a fiasco!

A police force out of their depth, witnesses who don't know truth from fiction and a prime suspect who's his own worst enemy. Very interesting listen.

24 people found this helpful

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A Riveting Account of An Ongoing Mystery

What did you like about this audiobook?

Not only would I listen to it again, I'm urging everyone I know to listen as well. As one who lives in West Cork and who is broadly familiar with the case, I've learned much that I'd not been aware of. For now I've given the podcast 4 stars under the three headings because I'm only a few episodes into it but I have a hunch I'll turn them into 5's by the end.

Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

This is an exceptionally well-produced and well-written podcast. Bungey and Forde, the producers, deserve all the praise that will surely come their way.

What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

Most definitely.

67 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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An astonishing tale

Would you consider the audio edition of West Cork to be better than the print version?

I haven't read this book but the audio version weaves such an intriguing soundscape I wonder if much of the atmosphere would be lost in the printed version. Though this is a factual retelling and exploration of a yet unsolved murder it has all the hallmarks of listening to a long traditional piece of fiction. This is an audio series to be savoured.

What was one of the most memorable moments of West Cork?

There were a number of memorable moments but what struck me most were some of the twists that arose. I stood in my kitchen more than once and exclaimed "no way, your joking!" I completely empathise with why the authors spent years working on this story.

What about the narrator’s performance did you like?

It was low key, very natural, focused and easy to listen to.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I think the interviews with the now adult son of the victim were very moving

Any additional comments?

This was fascinating, complex and intelligently told story. West Cork, Ireland in general and the personalities of so many involved in this frustrating case were handled with empathy that gave depth to the interviews. The music is great. All in all, for anyone interested in crime, or true crime, who dislikes the overhyped drama in the genre will find this series to be a quiet gem. It is really wonderful and I highly recommend it.

13 people found this helpful

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Thrilling and Undoubtedly Irish

An excellent portrayal of thrilling case, well-structured and clear. I highly recommend the listen which offers a realistic picture of crime and life in rural Ireland with its people and landscapes.

3 people found this helpful

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EXCELLENT

What made the experience of listening to West Cork the most enjoyable?

It gets to the heart of this heart breaking story. They really know how to get people to speak!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

yes... I couldn't stop listening

Any additional comments?

thank you

34 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Essential listening

This is as close to the whole picture as we are ever going to get. I grew up in Cork. When Sophie was murdered I was eight. I'd heard about it in snippets of details for decades, from media or comments from adults. To get the fleshed out story in all its uncomfortable detail was eye opening, enthralling and petrifying. It felt eerily familiar yet utterly foreign from the peaceful, welcome West Cork I've experienced.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Brittany Nicole
  • 15-12-20

Fantastically Put Together!!

I’ve been struggling to find a good read, and stumbled upon West Cork. The details and research put into this just drew me in immediately. I wish I could give more stars. Love love love

12 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 10-12-20

incredibly engaging

An engaging story that is less "true crime" and more about investigation, comedy of errors that is no comedy, suspects and witnesses who do themselves no favors by their actions and failing court of public opinion. The story captures your attention and won't let go. Well done podcast.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Lynne
  • 14-03-21

An unexpected, immersive experience!

This podcast managed to draw you into not only the mystery, but also the town, the people as well as the scenery (which almost became a cast member all in itself). I appreciated the unbiased way in which the facts were presented without losing its personality...or ever letting you forget that at the heart of this documentary lies a tragic, unsolved murder which has and still is affecting many lives. SUPERBLY researched, presented and narrated!

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Wendy G
  • 26-01-21

Interesting story & characters

I'm a big fan of true crime podcast and this was a story I wasn't familiar with. The podcasters did a wonderful jobof telling her story. Definitely worth the listen!

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Customer
  • 08-11-20

Good but....

I really enjoyed this series even though this isn’t my thing. The ending did leave me feeling a bit anti climactic but it’s no fiction so it is what is.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Judy
  • 18-09-21

Ok

Started out it was a 5 rating.. But, IMO the story seemed to devolve by episode 8 and the rest was a rehash of every person's *feeling* out there. So, it ended as a 3 and I split the difference and rated it a 4
A terrible crime in the vein of OJ.. With unfortunately the same drama. Good job on the podcast altogether..

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Stephanie Soressi
  • 19-03-21

Suspect Steals Show from Victim

I loved the first part about the case, but not so much about the suspect.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • TammieL
  • 03-03-21

Total Mind Blower

This was amazing. I am a True Crime junkie and I usually made a decision quickly with regards to “guilty” or “innocent” but I am so torn with this story. One minute I think, “Oh, this guy is so guilty and then the next I think, the police TOTALLY have it out for this man. I truly hope there’s more to come. And can I just say that the French Judicial System is Whacked.
Well worth the time to listen all the way through.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Williams
  • 01-03-21

loved it!

I couldn't stop listening once I started! It was incredible. Very well done! highly recommend

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lorenza Scavino
  • 23-02-21

Very Good

Really well put together. Showing different aspects, without obviously taking someone's side. Enjoyed it very much!

1 person found this helpful