In the introduction to Bouchercon’s 2017 anthology PASSPORT TO MURDER, editor John McFetridge noted in his call for submissions that they were looking for stories that contain “actual travel or the desire to travel with or without passports” as well as a “strong suggestion of murder or a desire to commit murder”. What we’re left with is a fairly solid collection of twenty-two stories showcasing desire, death and murder most foul.
I know, I know.. I’m late reviewing this one. Bouchercon was in October of last year! Why am I so slow? Listen, I grabbed nearly three dozen books last fall from the convention, it’s going to take me some time to get through them. Give me a break.
OK, now that I’ve got that out of the way – on to the review. I didn’t enjoy every story in the collection, but that’s pretty commonplace with anthologies; stories that are designed to be quick reads, so you can quickly forget ones that didn’t work for you and move onto the next after a few short pages. That said, there are some great stories in here: THE DEAD by Scott Loring Sanders, HERE TO STAY by Tanis Mallow, AS YE SOW by Craig Faustus Buck, and DIRTY LAUNDRY by Marie Hannan-Mandel. I also enjoyed THE QUEEN-SIZE BED by Rosemary McCracken which contained four characters from the Ottawa area, so it was interesting to see real-life places I recognize in a story.
The great thing about this anthology – as well as anthologies from years past – is that each story is donated by the author and proceeds from book sales are contributed to a charity of the convention’s choice. In 2017, it was Frontier College, an organization that aims to improve literacy levels in Canada by providing education to those who seek assistance with their learning and have been overlooked or left behind by the formal educational system.Sadly, I won’t be attending Bouchercon in 2018, but based on my enjoyment of this collection, I might look at grabbing this year’s anthology. It’s entertainment for a good cause!