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Death in Ice Valley – New episode with listener-led investigation

Death in Ice Valley – New episode with listener-led investigation

PRESS RELEASE · Bergen, Norway ·

The hit podcast, Death in Ice Valley, is back with a brand new episode – the first in two years. ‘Episode 12: Anna and Angelina’ will investigate two listener-generated leads in the search for the ‘Isdal Woman’ whose unidentified body was discovered in Isdalen (Ice Valley) near the Norwegian city of Bergen in November 1970.

An original podcast from the BBC World Service and NRK, Death in Ice Valley became an award-winning, worldwide success, with over 9.5 million downloads and streams since its launch in 2018.

Presenters Marit Higraff and Neil McCarthy have been trying to find out all they can about the identity of the woman at the centre of the story. She had died in terrible circumstances. The podcast has been exploring the mystery surrounding her death - she’d used several names, had a suitcase containing wigs, and labels had been cut out of many of her clothes.

More than 34,000 listeners are members of the podcast’s Facebook group, examining the case and trying to help identify the Isdal Woman, and the leads at the centre of the new episode have come from two listeners. Presenters Neil McCarthy and Marit Higraff investigate two of these theories.

For a while, the Death in Ice Valley team was absolutely convinced the mystery had been solved. That’s not the case yet but this episode will take us deep into fascinating and mysterious stories of two women travelling around Europe at the time the Isdal Woman died, and who may have been leading similar lives to her.

The ‘international fraudster’ - Anna Hogerova

An American listener, Emil, bumped into Marit at the Norwegian State Archives in Bergen while he was on a holiday in Norway. He had been sending her the story of Anna Hogerova, an international fraudster known to some as ‘The Black Tulip’, via encrypted messages, and had not revealed his identity to Marit until that chance meeting.

Anna was running rings around the police in the 1960s before mysteriously vanishing in 1969. From her multiple identities right down to the gap in her front teeth, the similarities between Anna Hogerova and the Isdal Woman were clear. Marit and Neil take us to 1960s Italy, where she was making money as well as headlines as part of a cheque fraud gang.

The ‘war time spy’ - Angelina Szelest

Cathryn Mitchell, a listener from Australia, suggested another woman – Angelina Szelest. She was taken from her home by Nazi forces in World War Two to work in a forced labour camp when she was just a teenager. Angelina forged a new identity for herself by lying her way across a war-ravaged Europe, eventually finding her way to Rome where she entered the murky world of espionage, coming into contact with what was then a hotbed of Cold War intrigue.

Presenter Marit Higraff said: “It’s a great pleasure to be back with a new episode of Death in Ice Valley, and to investigate these fascinating stories brought to us by some of our listeners. They have done the most impressive and amazing research in the search for the identity of the Isdal Woman, and it has been so exciting to work closely together in a global network, in the common goal of finding the one answer: who was she?”

Jon Manel, Podcast Commissioning Editor of BBC World Service English, said: “Like all fans of Death in Ice Valley, I’ve been looking forward to having a new episode. The investigation wouldn’t have started if it hadn’t been for Marit, but this is a podcast that is being driven by the listeners as well as Marit and Neil. The new episode follows listeners’ leads. Whilst it doesn’t solve the case, it tells two fascinating stories, and we feel it’s important to keep everyone close to developments and the efforts being made to discover the Isdal Woman’s identity.”

Episode 12 of Death in Ice Valley will be available on BBC Sounds and most podcast platforms from 7 June 2021. It is presented by Marit Higraff and Neil McCarthy and produced by Joel Cox. It’s a podcast from BBC World Service and NRK, the Norwegian public broadcaster.

Do you have a theory about the search for the identity of the Isdal Woman? You can join the conversation with Death in Ice Valley’s online community of more than 34,000 fans on Facebook.


Death in Ice Valley
By BBC World Service
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