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Go Behind the Scenes of The Riddle of Emmon Bodfish

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About the Creator and Performer

Paul Holes retired as a cold case investigator after spending over 27 years working for the Sheriff and District Attorney’s Offices in Contra Costa County, California.
Paul has applied his expertise in forensics, investigations, and criminal behavior to solve cold cases and serial predator crimes. He's worked many notable cases, including the Golden State Killer, Zodiac Killer, and the kidnapping of Jaycee Dugard. His work on an FBI Task Force and with the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office led to the use of an innovative forensic tool and identified Joseph DeAngelo as the Golden State Killer, the most prolific and cunning serial predator in US history.
Since DeAngelo's arrest, Paul frequently consults on complex and high profile cases. Through his work in the media, he also assists law enforcement and victims' families by bringing attention to unsolved cases. He is a co-author of the Audible Original Evil Has a Name, a host of The Murder Squad podcast, host of the TV series The DNA of Murder with Paul Holes, and an expert on the relaunch of America's Most Wanted.

About the Performer

Jim Clemente is a podcast host, writer, producer, and retired FBI agent and profiler. Jim is a host of the podcasts Real Crime Profile and Best Case Worst Case. For its entire 15 seasons, he was a technical adviser then writer and producer for the TV drama series Criminal Minds. Jim is also the co-creator and co-writer of the Discovery limited series Manhunt: Unabomber, and wrote and produced on the upcoming HBO Max Series Crime Farm. He is an executive producer of the new FOX Series America’s Most Wanted, a co-author of the Audible Original series Call Me God and Evil Has a Name, and the author of the novel Without Consent. Before his writing and producing career, Clemente was a prosecutor for the New York City Law Department and then a supervisory special agent and profiler for the FBI with a focus on serial killers, child abductions and other violent and serial crimes. He has investigated some of the highest profile criminal cases in US history, including the Unabomber, JonBenet Ramsey, Amanda Knox, the DC Snipers, 9/11 attacks and many more.

About the Creator

Peter McDonnell is a creator and writer of the Audible Originals Evil Has a Name, Call Me God, Shootout, and Brooklyn North. He was a producer of the 2020 Netflix documentary series Pandemic and the NBC documentary series The Forgotten West Memphis Three. Peter runs the audio department at XG Productions. As a writer, he has reported on the environmental impact of cruise ships, Rachel Carson’s pioneering study on the harm of DDT, and Richard Byrd’s Antarctic survival for magazines including Outside. He is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and has an MFA from Oregon State University. A native of St. Louis, he lives in Los Angeles with his wife Sarah and their son and daughter, Angus and Anna.

About the Creator

Josh Sanburn is a writer, reporter, producer, and former national correspondent for TIME Magazine, where he covered crime, policing, rural America, and social and demographic change across the U.S. He wrote TIME's cover stories on the Flint water crisis and the construction of One World Trade Center and features about the decline of capital punishment, man-made earthquakes in Oklahoma, and the increasing popularity of cremation. He's since produced documentaries for ABC News and National Geographic about the white working-class and the year 1969 and has written for Vanity Fair and New York Magazine. Sanburn is originally from Linton, Indiana, and graduated from Indiana University. He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., with his wife Claire and daughter Kate.

XG Production Credits

Written by Peter McDonnell, Paul Holes, Josh Sanburn
Narrated by Paul Holes, Jim Clemente
Executive Produced and Edited by Peter McDonnell
Co-Executive Producer: Josh Sanburn
Story Producer: Wendy Oleson
Production Coordinator: Sydney Sidell
Dialogue Editing: Matt Gurgol
Sound Design and Mix: Mike Cruz
Produced by XG Productions
Executive Producers for XG: Jim Clemente, Spencer Gordon, Peter Clemente

Featured Article: The Best Unsolved Mystery Podcasts to Uncover Your Inner Investigator


This list will help you find the best of the best: the must-listen podcasts that explore enduring mysteries related to murder, monsters, supernatural activity, and more. Go behind some of the biggest and most mysterious cases that continue to stump investigators. We've got Appalachian legends, interviews with people who've seen ghosts, true crime sagas, a duo of cocktail-drinking paranormal enthusiasts, and true tales about the internet you'll never believe.

What listeners say about The Riddle of Emmon Bodfish

Average Customer Ratings
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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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Excellent! Loved it!

This moved me immensely. I couldn't stop listening though I only chanced upon it. I appreciate the respect with which Emmon was treated and how his story was neither exploited nor raked for some political agenda. Thanks for a wonderful listen.

37 people found this helpful

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Haunting

Loved it. I think I could listen to Paul Holes read the phone book. Great story and hope that they are able to find the real killer(s).

21 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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The story seems forced (spoilers)

To me, Emmon being TG didn’t seem relevant to his murder. I’m not sure why it’s brought up repeatedly. And that’s the tone of the whole piece really.

It’s a simple case of “guy murdered for money” presented as a big mystery(it isn’t). Some of it is just silly, like the authors theory of 2 murderers with identical shoe size, wearing the same shoe (come on!)

16 people found this helpful

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Fascinating and frustrating!

I appreciate the dedication of all involved. Such a tragedy how persons can be completely destroyed by childhood torture. Also tragic is the way Eammon passed on the same kind of soul destroying treatment to his own son.

13 people found this helpful

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The listener becomes an eyewitness.

An extraordinary non-fiction account of a murder that includes fascinating threads involving Druids, messages coded using symbols associated with runes, the FBI and other law enforcement entities, and a brilliant victim who also happens to be a transgendered mother. The author weaves this account in a manner that quickly transforms the listener into a role as an eyewitness to the events. Highly recommended.

13 people found this helpful

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Depressing and leading nowhere

I appreciate that this was a podcast about a cold case, but I expected a little more mystery in the case itself - not a single, consistent suspect. I found Emmon Bodfish to be a mentally ill man who wished for his own murder and got his wish - it was hard to feel sympathy for him, or connection. I wish I hadn’t listened.

10 people found this helpful

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Intriguing, Compelling, Unsolved Mystery

There are rabbit holes within rabbit holes, throughout this compelling, unsolved murder case. And while (to date) no definitive, provable solution has been found, it's still a fascinating story - presented here in a solid, well-produced series.
At the time of Emmon Bodfish's murder, I lived just 19 miles away, and yet never heard a thing about the case. That makes the tale all the more intriguing to me. I'm guessing it probably made a blip on local news, but then as layers were peeled back in the investigation, the news just quietly dropped the story.
If as a listener, hearing a solution to the crime is a "make or break" factor for you, this may not be your thing. However, if you are more about the mystery, and if you like being fed pieces of an incomplete puzzle that send your mind down a path of possibilities that keep you up at night, this may well be very much your thing.

9 people found this helpful

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Just no there, there

Simply, there isn't much of a mystery here. Certainly not enough to warrant 11 episodes of a presentation. There are some social issues which may rub sensitive conservative types the wrong way, but nothing that a a good story (had it existed) couldn't have overcome. That being stated, the whole project did seem a bit performative, using the unconventional life of the title character as a crutch to hold up a weak story.

8 people found this helpful

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Hard to top this one

A compelling victim. Layers and layers to this podcast. Like the investigator in this case, I want to know more about Emmon Bodfish, why he was killed, and who killed him.

8 people found this helpful

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Masterful reenactment of a mystery

The telling of the story by those evolved help bring home the reality of this tragic event.
thank you for putting this together. Not only does it bring into core the troubled life of a transgender female and the life long abuse but why the diagnosed of people on the spectrum is so important, This might have helped a troubled child not feel the only way out was alone in an hotel room.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Jan
  • 05-14-21

Fascinating

A well written account and telling of an extraordinary person in an extraordinary story. Love anything to to with Paul Holes crime analysis as his passion for his work is second to none. Jim Clemente is a fab narrator. RIP Emmon.

18 people found this helpful

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  • ila
  • 06-04-21

Wait a minute! this. is. BRILLIANT!!??

I write this in a way to avoid any spoilers. There are
many voices that cover the investigators, friends, and professionals involved. This production, doesn't just cover your typical true crime story and all the events and clues as they develop. this also covers a profound understanding and separate investigation into the mental frame work and psychological profile of the victim and some other people too. I was in tears in the 5th episode listening to the investigator sympathetically unravel some of the victims history. It really makes you think about the past, and what you choose to do with it. I'll say no more but if you like true crime, this is one of the best.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Janice
  • 06-04-21

fascinating, informative, unbiased, real

Well presented, loads of detail, reality is stranger than fiction. Will listen to this again

5 people found this helpful

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  • Scott C
  • 06-09-21

unsatisfactory ending

I enjoyed this overall it's narrated well and is very interesting.

I appreciate this gives a bit more clarity on an interesting mystery, especially for those involved but it leaves too many open questions at the end.

I only realised how short this was towards the end and quickly guessed it was going to leave me with many questions.

If you want a clear ending with the outcomes wrapped up, this probably isn't for you.

Its like a great TV show that permanently ends mid-season leaving you with a thousand questions.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Noha
  • 06-06-21

Another fabeicated "transgender" drama!

Why is this marketed as a true "trans" murder?
It is so obvious that this man's / woman's sexuality problems have NO relevance to her murder. So why do you keep pushing the word trans is our faces everywhere?!!! The victim was beyond creepy and had eccentric beliefs, according to her own diaries. The most plausible theory is that she staged her own death exactly as she wanted according to her diaries.

4 people found this helpful

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  • M. Brookes
  • 07-18-21

Good reader but repetitively told.

Well read but while a sad story despite what sounds like a interesting topic turned out quite repetitive and dull.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amy
  • 06-30-21

very long for content

this could have been three thirty minute episodes, rather than lots of varying length. There's a lot of repetition and dramatic interpretation of what is, ultimately, an unsolved and now likely unproveable case. Good contributions from various people but overall it comes across as an attempt to sensationalise and overcomplicate an admittedly strange death, by turning it in to something conspired at by many.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Abigail Parker
  • 08-07-21

Fascinating and interesting

I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook. Would highly recommend to anyone that is in to true crime.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Caroline Berridge
  • 07-19-21

Twists and Turns

I trust Jim Clemente wouldn't narrate something which wasn't sound. A well told, rich story of fascinating people with ample levels of torment and the drive to grow beyond it.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • cally2461
  • 07-16-21

interesting

really enjoyed this but would have preferred less but longer chapters. all in all I would recommend

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dandeleo
  • 08-15-21

bizarre

bizarre but true, with so many twists and turns, but ultimately a satisfying resolution. probably.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Gina L Sanderson
  • 08-06-21

Don't expect a resolution. Disappointing.

I kind of hung in there to see how it was solved. I'm left hanging.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-31-21

Book title well chosen

Theme did not resonate with me.

I found the slow progress frustrating. Description of the detective process was interesting enough.

Well narrated.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-25-21

No conclusion!

Annoyingly long-winded with no satisfactory conclusion. It had promise but didn't deliver. I lost interest.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-13-21

very intriguing story

interesting story tools from the genuine perspectives off this investigating. if this was fiction you would not believe it

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • ELL
  • 06-28-21

well produced but underwhelming storyline

Well produced. Overall the storyline was disappointing and seemed to dwell on the facts that this was a tale of a person who was transgender and followed a pagan religion even though these things didn't really contribute much to solving the crime.