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West Cork

Length: 8 hrs
4.5 out of 5 stars (20 ratings)

Non-member price: $34.76

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Publisher's Summary

Please note: 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. 

This is an Audible Original Podcast. Free for members. You can download all 14 episodes to your Library now. 

©2018 Audible Originals, LLC (P)2018 Audible Originals, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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West Cork Wow

This was brilliant to listen to, set the bar really high! I hope I can find
Another audible Original as great as it is.

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exceptional investigative journalism

The best podcast I have listened to hands down. The pace and tone is perfect. I changed my mind on so many times. An unbiased presentation of evidence

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  • Jo
  • 13-10-2019

Why was this a free book??

I would have paid for this! It was so well written and produced and is such an interesting case. Sad subject matter but sensitively handled.

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  • Simon
  • 28-07-2018

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.

66 of 73 people found this review helpful

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  • Nigel
  • 11-02-2018

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

61 of 71 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous
  • 19-07-2018

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.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Eggs Ackley
  • 08-02-2018

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.

61 of 74 people found this review helpful

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  • daisyrock
  • 15-03-2018

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.

17 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Rhx
  • 04-03-2018

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.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • OSAGE
  • 09-02-2018

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

32 of 43 people found this review helpful

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  • Karyn
  • 11-03-2018

You couldn't make it up

Without minimising the horrifically violent murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier, this case has more twists and turns than a twisty-turny thing!

There's no doubt the main suspect is a violent manipulative man who seems to get off on the attention being a suspect brings him, but did he do it?

The show cleverly unfolds each part in this bizarre series of gaffes and missed opportunities.

The murder may have been over 20 years ago but it's left poor Sophie's family with a never ending nightmare, which is who this story should be about, them and the people who still have to live around the holiday cottage in the stunning area in Co. Cork.

20 of 28 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-07-2019

From Southern France

Totally gripping story. This is my second time listening to it. Couldn't put it down.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • chiton
  • 29-06-2019

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful