Mysteries will never go out of fashion.
One only needs to look at the very recent success of pop culture phenomenons like Serial, True Detective and The Jinx to realise that the general populace’s thirst for a juicy whodunit hasn’t waned in the hundred or so years since Sherlock Holmes was walking the London streets in his deerstalker, or Raymond Chandler’s flawed heroes were avoiding pot shots from gangsters all to help out a dame they barely even met.
So when a podcast favourite like Starlee Kine decides to turn her hat to sleuthing in a new series for Gimlet, you know that it’s going to be something worth getting your ears around.
Kine – a regular contributor to the likes of This American Life and Wire Tap With Jonathan Goldstein has decided to step out and into her own show in the new series Mystery Show and in its first season has already established it as one of the best new shows of 2015.
Unlike Chandelr novels or Sarah Koenig pursuits, however, the mysteries Kine has her magnifying glass up to are much more every day events, but tantalising mysteries all the same.
Like the case of her friend who borrowed a DVD from a video store, only to return to the same video store the next day to find the place completely abandoned and no sign of business in sight.
Or the case of the author, whose failed self-help book sold barely any units, but miraculously was somehow photographed in the hands of none other than Britney Spears. HOW DID IT GET THERE?!
And of course there’s the tantalising question that has been keeping us all awake at night – just how tall is Jake Gyllenhaal?
Just like her cameos on other shows, Kine’s appeal becomes evident fairly quickly as she converses with different sources who may or may not offer up clues. Her incredibly relatable and gentle approach to people and conversations often sees them opening up about details of their lives that they probably haven’t spoken about or even thought about in years.
Whether it’s a bartender gradually realising the fact that he laments the fact that he never settled down and married while she asks if he remembers where the aforementioned video store used to be. Or the telephone ticket salesman who opens up about his own inadequacies and fears that he is a disappointment or that he isn’t a good person – you can literally hear his perspective of himself change through the process of one conversation. It makes Mystery Show an ultra emotional exercise in not only broadcasting but human interaction.
The series unfolds over just six episodes and is part of the new Gimlet media group, which is also home to the equally impressive shows Reply All and Start Up.
Hopefully it won’t be long until Kine returns with season two, because this is terrific binge listening and already has me salivating for more unsolved mysteries.
Listen to episode one, ‘Video Store’ below, and stream the entire first season on the Gimlet website or on itunes.