The Paddlefish Caviar Heist
"Best True Crime Podcast" Nominee, 2023 AmbiesWarsaw, Missouri, is a small, rural town of just over 2,000 people in the American Midwest. Locally it’s known as the “quiet end of the Lake of the Ozarks.” Very few realize that it’s the paddlefish capital of the world. But when a new group arrived driving flashy, imported cars and dropping hundreds of dollars on bait and tackle, the town became the setting for an undercover federal sting operation tasked with bringing down a suspected international caviar poaching ring. The Paddlefish Caviar Heist is a production of Imperative Entertainment and Vespucci and is written and h...
Ximena Smith • Stuff NZ • Nov 5, 2022
"This is an intriguing new series...I’ve enjoyed Hollyman’s hosting style – her enquiries haven’t borne much fruit yet, but she’s humorous and self-aware of her outsider status in Warsaw. The folky, atmospheric music of the series is also a highlight, adding a cinematic quality to the story."
Fiona Sturges • Financial Times • Oct 30, 2022
"Hollyman is at pains to point out she is a country girl at heart, having recently moved from New York to Texas. Nonetheless, there are moments in the early stages of Paddlefish Caviar Heist where the tone feels a little off. Against a daft twanging soundtrack, we hear Hollyman and her producer consulting Google Maps as they drive into the town’s sparsely populated main square, where they observe locals staring at them suspiciously. So far, so condescending. There is a Hollywood thriller begging to be made about Russian mafia being parachuted into Missouri to plunder its stocks of paddlefish, often under cover of darkness, and leaving mountains of gutted corpses behind them. But until then, Paddlefish Caviar Heist will do just fine. …"
Miranda Sawyer • The Guardian • Oct 29, 2022
"The Paddlefish Caviar Heist is a weird one: a true-crime yarn that takes place in remote Missouri countryside and involves the eggs of paddlefish. Imperative and Vespucci, which have a great niche in long-form storytelling, have commissioned food writer Helen Hollyman to investigate the crime. She’s diligent, but this is not a grabby tale and there’s too much time spent establishing what’s gone on and not enough chasing down whatever story there is to be chased. I listened to two episodes that could easily have been condensed into one. Perhaps things will get spicier if we get to meet a few Russian caviar-munching gangsters along the way."