Bauer Media last week hit U.K. newsstands with a new glossy magazine aimed at women called Crime Monthly. Unlike sister publication Heat that features entertainment news and celebrity gossip, Crime Monthly focuses on the grisly details of real-life murders.
The title seeks to build on the popularity of the true-crime genre as typified by the podcast "Serial" and Netflix’s documentary "Making a Murderer." The glossy format of Crime Monthly is sensational and off-putting, but like the scene of any accident, it’s hard to look away.
The debut cover beams with a picture of a smiling Milly Dowler, a 13-year-old English schoolgirl who was reported missing in March 2002 and found dead months later. Her case was a central part of the phone-hacking scandal involving Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World. Investigators determined the tabloid’s reporters had hacked the girl’s voicemail.
The cover also shows portraits of other murdered girls and young women, including British backpacker Grace Millane who was killed in New Zealand, 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey and Teresa Halbach, the victim in "Making a Murderer."
Future issues will cover a mix of current and historical crimes, along with a 16-page TV and entertainment section for the latest TV, film, book and podcast crime content.
“We’re really not trying to trivialize these crimes, these are serious crimes,” Julia Davis, editor in chief of Crime Monthly, Heat and Bella, told the Press Gazette. “We are just reflecting the interest and demand. We’ve actually had endless conversations about being sensitive and balanced in our features inside.”
True crime is a popular genre also in the United States, where the show "Forensic Files" has been on and off the air for years, and can now be found on Netflix. The streaming media giant has become a repository for true-crime documentaries, like "Ted Bundy: Conversations With a Killer," "Evil Genius" and "Making a Murderer," which also has a sequel.
But these shows don’t mark a major cultural shift in the United States; 50 years ago, Truman Capote published "In Cold Blood" about the 1959 murders of four family members in a small Kansas town. Vincent Bugliosi's book "Helter Skelter" about the gruesome Charles Manson murders is the biggest-selling true-crime book of all time more than 40 years after it was published.
And like any genre that becomes hugely popular, true crime will hit a saturation point, then fade away as audiences shift their interests to the next big thing.