Love Her to Death by M. William Phelps (March 2011)

Publication Date:
March 2011
Pinnacle True Crime

Reviewed by:
On March 7, 2011
Last modified:September 13, 2012


A funeral director, his beautiful wife, a tramp-ish mistress, and a murder - definitely a must read!

Love Her to Death by M. William Phelps
Buy It Not On Amazon

Jan Roseboro had everything a woman could want: a beautiful (and very large) home, four wonderful children, a financially secure future. Everything except a faithful husband.

Michael Roseboro was well-respected in his small hometown of Denver, Pennsylvania. He was a third generation mortician and majority owner of the Roseboro Funeral Home – a family business founded by his great-grandfather. Even his penchant for extramarital affairs couldn’t keep most townsfolk from liking the man with the creepy profession.

But all of that would change on July 22, 2008. For it was on this night that Jan was brutally murdered in the couple’s backyard.

While many were, at first, willing to give Mike the benefit of the doubt, an unsurpassed number of lusty emails between he and his mistress, Angie Funk - who would also soon announce that she was pregnant with Mike’s baby, would quickly change their minds.

And get the tongues wagging in the strictly religious – Amish, Mennonite, and Pennsylvania Dutch – communities making up Lancaster County.

There’s a lot of books on the market about men who have affairs and kill their wives, but I can assure you that Love Her to Death isn’t your standard cheating man true crime because Mike Roseboro isn’t your typical cheater.

The arrogance, deceitfulness, and outright narcissism of Mike Roseboro really pops in M. William Phelps’ new book. Detailing the life of the Roseboro family as well as the insidious secret lifestyle of Mike and his mistress Angela Funk while not bogging down the book with continuous repetition or trial segment that’s better at putting one to sleep than counting sheep, makes Love Her To Death a first rate pick of this genre.

Just a little warning, as I realize many of you personally hate a book sporting an author’s running commentary:   You’ll find such is present in this book, but this time it truly makes the story. I found that Phelps was putting into print the exact thoughts running through my head.

All I can say is this: you don’t want to miss Love Her To Death by M. William Phelps, a book destined to be one of 2011′s top true crime!

Reviewer’s Notes:

* Also visit the 48 Hours Mystery site to watch a full episode on this case titled Lady in the Pool along with audio recordings of Mike’s 911 call and conversations between him and Angie. It doesn’t matter whether you see the episode before or after reading the book, because the book offers so many more details and answers many of the questions left unanswered in the television version.

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15 Responses to “Love Her to Death by M. William Phelps (March 2011)”

  1. That’s the thing about TV, even a one hour show isn’t enough time to tell the whole story. Since I come from television, I always like to point out they usually do a wonderful job but they do have to work within the confines of their medium. A book writer can take you places television can never go. This sounds like a great story.

  2. Kim Cantrell says:

    Hi Camille! Usually my expectations have been low for television shows. I realized long ago what you just said. Unfortunately, in this particular case, 48 Hours Mystery left out A LOT of critical information. Watching the show, you could almost make an argument for Mike Roseboro’s innocence; at the very least, argued that Angie Funk was the killer. And while I by no means defend the woman, she, I believe, did not have anything to do with Jan’s murder.

  3. Amy G. says:

    The story was interesting enough; the sentence structure, however, was atrocious. Phelps committed his own true crime against those poor, defenseless words! Seriously, was his book translated from Klingon by Google Translate? It reads as though an editor never set eyes on it. The publisher ought to have been embarrassed to print it. I’ve been posting some of the more egregious examples on Facebook, and all of my friends are rolling with laughter, wondering if it was self-published (and why I am still reading it). If the publisher had any mechanism for feedback on their website, I would have told them about this privately, but apparently they don’t want to hear from their (no doubt angry) readers!

  4. Kim Cantrell says:

    Amy, thanks for the input. However, I will say, that the vast majority of true crime readers are in it for the story, not so much for the grammatical correctioness. I personally didn’t see what you are refering to, but then again I’m not a GC person myself so…

    I’m going to stand by what I said about Love Her to Death being one of the best TC books this year.

  5. Amy G. says:

    Kim, that’s fair enough, but what I’m seeing is prose that is *so* contorted that it actually makes it difficult to enjoy — or even, in some cases, understand! — the story. Here are a couple of choice examples:

    “The back of the Roseboro house, which was an extremely rare event, if not odd, was pitch dark.” (This is so tortured! What this ends up seeming to mean is that the house itself is somehow rare or odd. To get at what I think he means, you could simply say “The back of the Roseboro house was dark, which was a rare event, if not downright odd.”)

    “There were so many variables at work here—albeit rain and people— searching for evidence of value outside near the pool was more or less a formality at this point.” (To paraphrase from “The Princess Bride,” I do not think that ‘albeit’ means what he thinks it means. This conjunction does not belong in this sentence, because it is meaningless here!)

    “And yet, studying his behavior, one might gander a speculative thought that Roseboro had turned a corner with his compulsive nature.” (Again, I am not sure what he thinks ‘gander’ means, but it doesn’t belong here.)

    It seriously reads like a non-English speaker wrote it. Call me old-fashioned, but I think that a book that costs actual money, whether fiction or non-fiction (and for the record, I read a LOT of true crime so this isn’t genre snobbery), should be written in something approaching reasonable, legible English. A professional editor would have made hash of this book, which is why I’m guessing there was no editorial process whatsoever.

  6. Kim Cantrell says:

    I understand your position. As a matter of fact, the person who would probably be considered my best friend is exactly like you. I jokingly refer to y’all as “red penners.” :)

    I think it may be a dialect issue. Which, truth be told, certain dialects are gramaticallly incorrect. For example, you mention his use of the word “gander.” While the official definition is that of a male goose, here in the South we frequently use as slang for “look.” Searching a definition on Google, I found that the last definition is for slang, meaning “inquisitive look.” So, essentially, he did use it in a correct fashion.

    I realize this is written in Pennsylvania. And I also admit that I am not familiar with the dialect there. I also know Phelps is presently in Connecticut, but I wonder if he ever lived in a Southern area; explaining his verbage.

    I personally like the books that are written as though I’m having a conversation, which Phelps did which explains my enthusiasm for it.

    I do realize however that not everyone shares that same preference, so I do truly did mean it when I said I appreciate your input. :)

  7. Kim Cantrell says:

    And on the subject of GC’ness…

    That should have read: I perrsonally like the books that are written as though I’m having a conversation, which Phelps did and explains my enthusiasm for such.

  8. Amy G. says:

    Hi again, Kim, and let me at least interject one positive into this (very pleasantly civil!) discussion: I’m really glad I found your site as a consequence of looking up reviews for this book! I plan to hang around and do a lot more reading.

    Back to the subject at hand: I do know of the use of the word “gander” for “look.” But it’s generally used a noun (“Take a gander at that short skirt on her!”). He’s using it as a verb, and even in that context it’s strange. He’s not suggesting *looking* at Roseboro’s behavior; he is talking about forming a thought, or having a thought. A more correct way to express what I think he’s trying to say is “And yet, studying his behavior, one might *entertain* a speculative thought that Roseboro had turned a corner with his compulsive nature.” At best, you might say “And yet, taking a gander at his behavior, one might form a speculative thought that Roseboro had turned a corner with his compulsive nature.”

    Seriously, I do want to take a red pen to this book and ship it back to the publisher! :-D

    I am, by the way, from PA. Chester County, which is right next to Lancaster County. And my husband is from central Pennsylvania. I’ve been sharing a lot of my frustrations about this book with him, and none of the strange constructions are familiar regionalisms from that part of the world. And I doubt they’re from the south, either. They’re just strange, contorted prose. Which is weird, because I’ve read books by Phelps before and never had quite this reaction.

    I guess they can’t all be Ann Rule! But seriously, you can tell the old school journalists at a glance because they generally write with such clarity.

  9. Kim Cantrell says:

    Sorry I’m just now getting back….

    No matter how you found my blog, I’m glad you did! I always love input, so please feel free to comment on any reviews whether you agree or disagree. I’m always up for a good debate. :)

    I see exactly what you’re saying about “gander.” Rereading it, I agree. Honestly I didn’t pick up on it then. We’ll just say I save that for the “red penners.” lol I’ll ask you what I ask my friend, have you ever considered being an editor? Seriously.

    By the way, as somoene from the area, is Pennsylvania Dutch country everything it’s said to be? My husband and I are planning a trip to the New England states and I’m just wondering how much time we should take in those areas.

    So you really like Ann Rule? She was the first author I read in the true crime genre, and the one responsible for getting me hooked. I’m finding her later books are changing in style and just not doing as much for me. :(

  10. Amy G. says:

    Hey, Kim, I love a civil debate, too! (And, I did used to work for a major publisher when I still lived in New York, but that was back in the 80s.)

    As for visiting Pennsylvania Dutch country, it depends on your interests. There’s not much to do for active people. For that, you’d want the Poconos. If you like country crafts and antiques, you might like driving around the PA Dutch area for a couple of days. In summer, you might even find a corn maze or two to wander around! It’s also nice for the kids, because you’ve got a few amusement parks including Hershey, which also has a nice animal park and a great concert venue. If either of you are history buffs, obviously Philadelphia is a must-see. (And if you do end up going to Philadelphia, ask me about restaurants!)

    But if you’re going to New England, PA is merely a drive-through state. I think technically Connecticut is the first real New England state.

    I *totally* agree about Ann Rule! Although I have to say, sometimes it’s the paucity of interesting cases that makes it seem like a writer is losing their touch. Really, when is she going to get another case of the caliber of a Ted Bundy? And I can’t really blame her for Gary Ridgeway being such a boring dude…

  11. Sandee says:

    Can ANYONE tell me how to find pictures in a true crime book on my Kindle? I know they’re there (sometimes) but I can never find them when I want to and have stopped using my Kindle for TC books as a result. Very frustrating as TC is my favorite genre.

    As for Love Her To Death – I’m torn. I’m a real “red penner” and if those examples were representative of what I’ll find, I’m not at all sure I could handle it! Yet I need to find some new TC books. Between a new friend and I we have pretty much cleaned out the local books stores. I was hoping to buy some 2011 books for my Kindle, but not being able to flip to the pictures when I want to, repeatedly, is a real drawback. Any suggestions?

  12. Trish says:

    Sandee, I feel your frustration. It drives me nuts when I have no clue if pictures are included in my kindle book and I have to search and search for them. Far too many don’t include the photos and if I could tell that on the front end, I wouldn’t purchase it as a kindle book.

    That said, try this:
    Go to the book you are reading and open it up.
    Hit your menu button and scroll down to search book.
    Scroll to bottom of page then and type in “photo”.
    It will bring you to the description of the photo (if they are included), but not the photo itself. You then put your cursor on one of the descriptions and enter. It should then take you to the photo.

    Hopefully, this helps.

    P.S. KIM, Love your blog! I am a big TC reader & I follow you closely!

  13. Kathy says:

    I just finished the book and was not satisfied….I felt the author left things hanging out there so I went to 48 hours. Realized I could have watched this on the internet and got the story there. The book was dragging out in the middle. Wish more had been said about the children, Sam especially,I think he knows more than he says and Roseboros family. End of the day, a beautiful woman was killed, was it him ?? Motive for sure and the 911 call was a give away. Sad story for the kids, the younger ones anyway….May Jan Roseboro rest in peace.

    And Mr. Phelps write a better book…I look forward to that.

  14. A caring friend says:

    Personally, as a close friend of the Roseboro’s. I am appalled that there is a book about this. The television show was enough to make us all re-live the tragedy. The fact that no matter where I go, when I tell people where I’m from the first thing I am asked is if I knew the Roseboro’s. These children have been through hell and back (@ Kathy: this includes Sam. You may think he knows more about the situation but you are wrong.) They no longer have a mother, we all have to suffer the loss of an amazing woman everyday. To keep putting this in the media and opening wounds is not fair to them. In fact it is extremely upsetting that anyone could do this to someone. Glad you all got your drama fix at the expense of a community of people who care about the Roseboro’s.

  15. [...] capable of such a horrible crime. But their opinions would make a sudden shift when it was learned he’d been carrying on an elicit affair with a married woman. The girlfriend, Angela Funk, then made a public announcement: she was [...]

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