In this week’s newsletter: Explore the shocking murder of the Maltese journalist, with input from her son – and the man who confessed to her killing – in Who Killed Daphne? Plus: five of the best podcasts for book-lovers
People gather at the Great Siege Square calling for the resignation of Joseph Muscat following the arrest of one of the country’s most prominent businessmen as part of the investigation into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Photograph: Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters
Picks of the week
The Video Archives
Widely available, from Tuesday 19 Jul
In Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary’s blockbuster of a podcast, they revisit films they used to recommend when they worked together in LA’s Video Archives. Tarantino rescued the rich VHS library and now has a replica of the rental shop in his house, which is where their mission begins. “If we don’t have the video cassettes they can’t be counted as a movie,” says Tarantino as they get to work on films such as Messenger of Death. Hannah Verdier
Widely available, episodes weekly
Will Ferrell presents this talent-packed anthology podcast, shining the spotlight on fresh new comedians. First up is Greta Titelman with Stepmom Presents: The Husband Hunt. She’s delightfully terrifying as the woman who’s coming after your dad and his “old, dangling papaya balls”, kindly dispensing advice to anyone who wants to use her as a very disturbed role model. HV
Gangster: The Story of Curtis Warren
BBC Sounds, all episodes out now
Livvy Haydock hosts a lively deepdive into the life of the first gangster to be featured in the Sunday Times Rich List, speaking to those who did time with him and the customs officers who came up against him. Hollie Richardson
The Rise and Fall of T in the Park
BBC Sounds, available now
Scotland’s raucous music festival attracted A-listers and a notorious amount of drunken fun for two decades, but why did it come to an abrupt end in 2016? Radio 1 DJ Arielle Free brings all the festival joy to answer the question in bite-size episodes with many great stories, including the moment when Calvin Harris persuaded Will Smith to introduce his set. HV
Who Killed Daphne?
Widely available, episodes weekly
When Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed by a car bomb, there was no doubt she was targeted. Stephen Grey investigates the case, with input from Galizia’s son, Matthew. Grey uncovers corruption and abuse among the island’s powerful elite – and speaks to suspect George Degiorgio, who has since confessed to carrying out the hit. HV
There’s a podcast for that
This week, Charlie Lindlar chooses five of the best podcasts for literature lovers, from a show all about deceased authors to NPR’s bite-size book show
The Maris Review
In this intimate podcast from Lithub, writer Maris Kreizman goes deep with authors to peek into their process. Kreizman’s relaxed, freeform style and the show’s lo-fi feel sees conversation open up in unexpected ways, making this one of those rare interview shows that will actually make you miss your bus stop. Beside the unpredictable lines of inquiry, another strength is the diversity of its guests: one episode David Sedaris explains why he finds writing about joy harder than writing about pain, the next Yaa Gyasiruminates on why research is such a satisfying part of writing.
Celebrity Memoir Book Club
If you’re looking for something a little lighter, try this show tackling that most divisive of book genres: the celebrity biography. Digging into books by famous types from wrestlers to reality stars “so you don’t have to”, American hosts Claire Parker and Ashley Hamilton wade into memoirs with heaps of distinctly un-American irony. The pair’s mix of scepticism and heartwarming, genuine reverence for the medium feels very of our time, and though episodes run up to 90 minutes, they’ll fly by. Or at least they’ll certainly be far less painful than reading the actual books.
NPR’s Book of the Day
For a more bite-size books podcast, check out NPR’s Book of the Day, which the American public service broadcaster bills as “today’s great books in 15 minutes or less”. In each brisk episode, expect authors zipping through themes explored in their works, timely breakdowns of the latest must-reads, and NPR journalists picking the books that best address the topics at the top of the news agenda. If you’re stuck with what to pick up next, or want to gauge if that hot new release everyone’s talking about is really one for you, this is the podcast for you.
Marlon and Jake Read Dead People
Every listener knows the key to a co-hosted podcast is the natural chemistry between the presenters. Luckily, Booker prize-winning author Marlon James and his editor Jake Morrissey have that in buckets, in this podcast exclusively focusing on long-gone authors. To keep you on your toes, the two have a range of fun formats such as the best books to gift or their favourite unreliable narrators (and “good books by terrible people” could surely be its own show at this point). Plus, the two make sure to delve equally into books and writers they love and loathe.
Perhaps the original books podcast, Little Atoms started life back in 2005 as a radio show broadcast on London’s Resonance FM. Each weekly episode sees longstanding host Neil Denny interview leading writers from Juliet Jacques to John Waters on their work in thoughtful but pacy half-hour chunks. You never quite know who you’re going to get each week, but you can guarantee you’ll learn something. It also recently celebrated the remarkable milestone of 750 episodes – testament to the sheer breadth, not to mention quality, of authors and conversations in its archives.