Rarely do I find myself being graced with a podcast that is so whimsical and charming, it feels more like a good friend than an audio clip. That’s why I was truly grateful to stumble across the gem that is Mystery Show. In this podcast, creator and host Starlee Kine leads listeners through a myriad of mysteries. But that’s truly the only thematic umbrella Mystery Show falls under. While Kine doesn’t focus on overwhelming issues by any means, each mind-boggler she tackles is more unique and bizarre than the last.
Mystery Show’s pilot episode, for instance, features a call in by a woman named Laura who recounts a story of a simple movie rental in a small town. Laura explains that, upon trying to return her copy of Must Love Dogs the next day, she finds that the video store has closed up shop overnight—seemingly without any warning. Laura and Kine wonder aloud about how that could be. We join Kine as she hops on a train to find out.
Another episode highlights a mystery that has plagued Andrea, a writer who claims to have written a failure of a book. She talks about her bewilderment when images surface of pop star Britney Spears clutching a copy of this novel at a family outing. Andrea is at a loss for how a book that did so poorly in sales could wind up in the arms of the “Slave 4 U” crooner. Upon hearing such a story, many people might cock their heads for a moment and then go about their merry way. But not Kine. No, she intends to find out why.
An inquisitive nature is something that comes easily for our Kine, who claims that a wild curiosity has followed her since childhood. “Think back to when you were a little kid…how badly you wanted to believe the world was full of hidden treasures,” she remarks in her third episode. Perhaps that’s part of what makes Mystery Show so good. It gives listeners a chance to revisit this sense of childlike wonder about the world. It extends audiences a safe space where questions like “how?” and “why?” are welcomed—not shunned.
Kine might not be paying attention to large mysteries, but she’s certainly paying attention to life mysteries. The things that people lie awake at night and think about, but never seek to explore for themselves. These quirky “cases”, as Kine calls them, are at the very heart of Mystery Show. Beautifully recounted and explored with the authentic storytelling that is to be expected of Starlee Kine, this series of tiny conundrums makes for a podcast that is genuine, funny, and heartwarming. With characteristics like these, it should be no mystery why Mystery Show has already climbed its way up on my list of favorites.