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?
Claire McGowan is a writer and lecturer - perhaps best known for her crime/thriller books published under her own name, but also known for her other books published under the name of Eva Woods. McGowan has also had several radio dramas broadcast on Radio 4, has a number of scripts currently under development, and has written articles for a number of leading publications.
Claire McGowan's skill as a novelist translates hugely well to this step into non-fiction - and it's that skill which elevates this from just being a fascinating listen about some horrific crimes, to a state of the nation piece which explores the wider socio and economic factors that would affected the deaths, coverage, and investigations into these 8 missing women.
There can often be a rather seedy theme that runs through 'True-Crime' books - and they can often glamorise the violence and the killings rather than investigating what truly happened. McGowan is careful to ensure that this isn't a line that ever gets crossed her - and in examining in great detail the background that led to these crimes happening and the way that they were responded to, she is able to give life and voice to the missing women, whilst also providing a social history for Ireland at the time of the disappearances, and ensuring that the listener feels, much like the author (and narrator) justifiable anger for those affected by these crimes, and the lack of justice that still haunts the families to this day, over 20 years later.
Chilling and gripping, but never gratuitous or sordid - The Vanishing Triangle is a fascinating listen that shines light on an unsolved series of crimes and the wider circumstances surrounding them.
Many thanks to MidasPR for my copy!