‘Crossing the Line with M. William Phelps’ explains why female serial killers are more interesting than their male counterparts

January 19, 2022

Welcome back to another episode of Podsauce! This week, Dax and Alesha are delighted to be joined by host of “Paper Ghosts” and “Crossing the Line,” M. William Phelps. But first, we have some podcast recommendations from our hosts.

Alesha recommends “Dark Arenas,” an audiochuck podcast available only on Stitcher Premium, so it does require a membership to listen to (but you can get a free trial). “Dark Arenas” is a podcast about the people working in the darkest professions in the world: tracking international fugitives, hunting child abductors, conducting espionage, and even unearthing mass graves. Delia D’Ambra travels the United States to interview FBI agents, CIA Directors, ATF special agents, and more on this podcast.

Dax recommends an Ashley Flowers’ classic, “Supernatural with Ashley Flowers.” The true crime queen dives into the less explainable side of the crime world, looking for ghostly explanations into the scary and spooky. She tells stories of vampires, witches, ghosts, Sixth Sense clairvoyant-types, and much spookier things.

The spotlight this week is on M. William Phelps (also known as Mathew), the creator and host of the trending true crime podcast “Crossing The Line with M. William Phelps.” As he describes it, he is crossing the line into the true crime space, telling stories of murders and missing people as well as topical true crime subjects that may or may not enrage him.

An investigative journalist and true crime author, Phelps has been in the “true crime” industry for decades. Before that, though, Phelps wrote about music and politics, having published four history books and co-authored Failures of the Presidents. But what accidentally launched him into true crime was a story from Springfield, Massachusetts about a pretty blonde woman, married to a fireman with whom she had two kids, who was going on trial for the murder of seven people.

He wrote a book about the woman, Kristen Gilbert, and her murders, thinking he was just writing about an interesting story, and the next thing he knew, Phelps was a true crime writer. With the huge success of that book, Phelps’ publisher requested more true crime books like that one, and Phelps became a bonafide true crime author with over 45 books under his belt.

Alesha, our true crime podcast expert, points out that female serial killers are far rarer than male serial killers. Phelps says that’s what originally drew him to the case, specifically being drawn to female murderers, and he even has a whole episode about female serial killers in his podcast. Dax chimes in, remembering what Phelps’ pointed out in his episode of “Crossing The Line” about Dorothea Puente; that women tend to kill for financial gain, whereas men tend to kill for fun.

As a writer and researcher, Phelps says that there’s more to female serial killers. Having written plenty of books on women who kill, he reiterates that women, more than men, kill for financial gain, but he has written about plenty of female serial killers who also do it for fun. He also lets us know that both he and the FBI suspect that there are at least 1 to 2 serial killers working in every major city in the United States. Phelps also does let us know that serial killing is actually very rare, which is a comforting notion.

Alesha, who briefly went to law school, talks about how important it is to know these stories, especially about unassuming killers. She says that it’s important to trust your gut when something feels off, to which Phelps agrees wholeheartedly. As a tie in, he recently helped Debra Newell, the woman at the center of the Dirty John case, write her memoir, and he emphasizes how important (and not awkward) it is to look someone up, especially if you are online dating. Trusting your gut is as important as trusting your brain.

Before they let Phelps go, Dax requests some podcast recommendations from the author. Phelps loves “Uncover” a CBC true crime podcast with over 13 seasons, especially the season which was also released as a stand alone podcast called “The Village.” He also loves “My Favorite Murder” (who doesn’t?) and various self-help podcasts to “balance the light and the dark,” as he puts it.

Alesha obviously has to hit Phelps with some podcast recommendations, too, and she recommended the meditation podcast “Dropping Gems” and a Podsauce favorite “It’s Always the Husband.”

For one final podcast recommendation, we have a new Done In A Day for you, which is “Even The Rich.” The podcast covers some of the greatest family dynasties in history, from the Murdochs to the Royal Family to even Jay-Z and Beyoncé. They’ve covered Bennifer both new and old, the true House of Gucci, and much more.

Dax’s Pick

Supernatural with Ashley Flowers

Listen to ‘Supernatural with Ashley Flowers’

Alesha’s Pick

Dark Arenas

Listen to ‘Dark Arenas’

Done In A Day

Even The Rich

Listen to ‘Even The Rich’

M. William Phelps’ Picks

Crossing the Line with M. William Phelps

Listen to ‘Crossing the Line with M. William Phelps’

Paper Ghosts

Listen to ‘Paper Ghosts’


Listen to ‘Uncover’

My Favorite Murder

Listen to ‘My Favorite Murder’

New shows we love...

Join Our Newsletter

The best podcasts to listen to next, delivered right to your inbox every week.

By clicking Submit, you acknowledge you have read and agree to our Website and Digital Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.