Mystery podcasts are some of the most popular and entertaining listens among the types of podcasts.
With a wide range of topics, categories, narration styles, and storytelling formats, it’s also a very diverse field.
Below, learn what gets discussed on a mystery podcast and the types of mystery podcasts.
Then, read about the 15 best mystery podcasts of 2022.
That way, you can find your next favorite podcast.
What Is a Mystery Podcast?
In the broadest sense, a mystery podcast discusses some kind of unknown, unsolved, or otherwise unresolved story.
Mystery podcasts can be fiction or nonfiction.
They can be single episodes, where the host tells the entire story in one sitting and then moves on to something new on the next episode.
Some mystery podcasts are serials, which tell a single story in parts throughout a season or multiple seasons.
Or they can be a hybrid of the two, with individual stories building to a larger question.
What Does a Mystery Podcaster Talk About?
A mystery podcaster will primarily discuss the mystery in question.
They should include relevant background information and as much detail about the case as possible in the time allotted.
Podcasts sometimes blur the lines between blogs and objective journalism.
There’s a massive difference between podcasts and blogs, but even among podcasts, some are more reputable and less biased than others.
Hosts should carefully consider all aspects of a case, especially when discussing a mystery.
What Is Included on a Mystery Podcast?
You likely already know how to listen to a podcast, but what is typically included in one focused on mystery?
What you’ll hear depends on the format of the show.
Your host should consult experts and witnesses.
They should present as much information as possible and highlight any controversies, whether they agree with them.
Other Things That You Can Find on a Mystery Podcast
Here are a few other things you might hear:
- Ads: Sometimes, your podcast host will advertise a favorite product of their own through a sponsorship arrangement.
- Descriptive language: Podcasters know their audience members must engage by creating a vivid picture in their minds.
- Different voices: Hosts know you don’t want to listen to them for 47 minutes straight, plus bringing in experts gives fresh perspectives and helps lend credibility to any claims.
- A cohesive narrative: Even if you’re listening to a serial, each episode should have a narrative arc and fit with the show’s theme.
Types of Mystery Podcasts
Mystery podcasts break down into several subcategories.
You may also hear them described as true crime podcasts, though not all mystery podcasts are about crimes.
Types of mystery podcasts:
- Mystery podcasts about murder: these examine murders. Some of them remain unsolved, while the outcome of others is lesser-known.
- Mystery podcasts about unsolved cases: these stories are about unsolved crimes. There may be other topics about supernatural mysteries or other unexplained events.
- Mystery podcasts for kids: Given their audience, these podcasts steer clear of violent or dark topics and often focus on strange things in nature, history, and pop culture.
Best Mystery Podcasts: 15 Examples
Now let’s look at the best mystery podcasts in the murder, unsolved cases, and kids categories.
You can listen to podcasts on multiple platforms with this list.
How Many Mystery Podcasts Are There?
There are a lot of mystery podcasts! Moreover, lots of podcasts blur the lines between genres.
You won’t run out.
Mystery Podcasts about Murder
With a plethora of true crime podcasts, so it’s hard to pick only five.
Below, read our favorites in 2022, from tried-and-true classics to brand-new shows.
Who Killed Daphne?
We put Who Killed Daphne in the murder category, but this podcast is much more.
Produced by podcasting giant Wondery and hosted by investigative journalist Steven Grey, it unravels the mystery surrounding the 2017 death of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Galizia was a Maltese journalist killed by a car bomb, but this podcast delves into her life, work, and the seedy underworld of crime that likely caused her death.
If you’re looking for a classic whodunnit, look no further than Suspect from Wondery.
On Halloween night, 2008, someone murdered computer programmer Arpana Jinaga in her Seattle apartment.
The problem for investigators was that residents throughout the complex had hosted a party on the night of the murder, turning the guest list into a suspect list.
Hosts Eric Benson and Matthew Shaer interview partiers, investigators, and those who knew Jinaga to understand why she died and who might be responsible.
They also scrutinize the investigation and how race, class, and gender issues played a part.
Bonaparte is an emotional and shocking murder podcast.
Host Jason Stavers joins New York attorney Anne Champion as she travels back to her hometown to investigate the death of her childhood friend.
In 1996, a trucker found Laura Van Whye unconscious on the side of the road, and she later died from her injuries.
Poignantly, this podcast explores the dramatic ways her death and the mystery around it impacted her family, friends, and community.
Murder, Myth, and Mystery
While still tackling somber stories, Murder, Myth, and Mystery takes a unique angle on them.
The three hosts–Sara, Erik, and Mary–tackle a new, often historical, story on almost every episode, so the content is always fresh.
Finding Tammy Jo
In 1979, the body of a 16-year-old girl was discovered in a cornfield in upstate New York.
Despite captivating an entire community, it wasn’t until decades later that the public learned more about who she was and how she died.
Finding Tammy Jo delves into the world of web sleuthing, whereby true crime junkies attempt to solve cases in online communities.
Mystery Podcasts about Unsolved Cases
Put on your detective hat and try to solve these mysteries as you listen.
Stolen: Surviving St. Michael’s
This podcast has it all: a personal connection from an experienced host, ties to larger issues of justice and race, and a story that only grows more complex and bizarre as it progresses.
Host Connie Walker hears a violent and disturbing story from her father, who attended one of Canada’s compulsory boarding schools for Indigenous children.
She decides to look into the account further; what she uncovers will shock you and make you think simultaneously.
And That’s Why We Drink
If you love mysteries but can’t decide what to listen to, check out And That’s Why We Drink.
Hosts Em Schultz and Christine Schiefer discuss a different puzzle each week.
Some are ghost stories and delve into the paranormal, while others are unsolved murder mysteries, especially bizarre ones.
Best of all, the hosts teach you to make a delicious cocktail and enjoy it while you listen.
She vanished on a family vacation to Wollongong’s Fairy Meadow Beach, and despite an arrest nearly 50 years later, the case remains unsolved.
With interviews from people closest to the case, journalist John Kay (himself an expert on the story) tries to piece together why Cheryl was taken in the first place and what may have become of her.
In Sympathy Pains, host Laura Beil (of Dr. Death fame) delves into the life of con artist Sarah Delashmit.
Over many years, Delashmit ingratiated herself into healing communities and people’s lives with false illnesses and experiences.
Beil spends as much time on why she would behave this way as she does on Delashmit’s actions.
She is fascinated with Delashmit’s psychology and the circumstances that pushed her to do what she did.
In 1990, two men entered a Boston museum and made off with more than $500 million worth of art.
The hosts, Tim Pilleri and Lance Reenstierna investigate this crime.
How did the men pull it off?
Where are the paintings now?
With all the excitement of a heist movie, this podcast takes you through the dramatic theft and aftermath.
The second new season delves deeper and explores other issues in the art world.
Mystery Podcasts for Kids
Kids love mysteries too!
The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel
It’s hard to talk about kids’ podcasts without mentioning Mars Patel.
It’s written for kids, and much of it is hosted by them, making it a great choice for a young listener.
Professor Theo’s Mystery Lab
Professor Theo from Splendid, West Virginia takes kids into the crazy world he inhabits.
The episodes are short and engaging, perfect for a car ride to a soccer game.
Opal Watson, Private Eye
If your kids love Harriet the Spy, they’ll beg to listen to the adventures of Opal Watson.
Expertly written to reflect the cognitive and critical thinking abilities of kids, each episode is just thrilling enough.
This mystery podcast has parents itching to get their kids in the car to listen to the next episode.
Instead of a host and narrator, it has an entire cast exploring the life of a girl with special, mysterious abilities.
A-Z Mystery Clue Club
If you’ve got a junior investigator in your family, they can solve the puzzle alongside the hosts in this one-and-done series.
Episodes are short and perfect for keeping kids engaged.
Similar Podcasts to Check Out
There are thousands of mystery podcasts!
If nothing here stands out, check our list of the most popular podcasts.
You may also look for podcasts about:
- Crime Podcasts: These podcasts focus on a range of topics, from organized crime to Ponzi schemes and everything in between.
- True Crime Podcasts: Just like mystery podcasts, true crime programming is popular with people who want to learn how crime is uncovered and, hopefully, solved.
- Murder Podcasts: This type of podcast can sometimes be challenging to listen to, but the audience gets to explore some of the darkest types of crime.
Frequently Asked Questions
Mystery podcasts are mysterious, after all.
What is the #1 mystery podcast?
There is no definitive answer to this question!
However, Serial has won a Peabody Award for its absorbing approach to storytelling.
It has countless twists and turns, making it an excellent example of an engaging mystery podcast.
What is the most famous detective show?
While everyone has their own opinion, many people consider The Wire and Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock to be the most famous detective shows.
Other popular programs include True Detective, Psych, Fargo, and Dexter, which was a more unconventional interpretation of the detective genre.
Remember: the danger in listening to mystery podcasts is getting hooked!
After all, a quality podcast will be full of suspense and intrigue that should be more than enough to satisfy even the most curious listener.
Browse the lists above to find your next great podcast, and get started on uncovering the next sensational mystery.