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The Independent Culture
AS A bridge journalist I have a steady stream of bridge books plopping into my postbox. When considering them for review I'm sometimes reminded of the late Terence Reese's comment on receiving Bridge in 10 Easy Lessons, or some such title: "The author should hasten to take them."

Although I am not a great fan of "characterised" bridge books, David Bird's books do make entertaining reading and are full of instructional hands. This one comes from The Abbot and the Sensational Squeeze (Gollancz, pounds 7.99, the Master Bridge series).

East-West were apparently an unpractised partnership - the school matron playing with the French mistress in a local knock-out teams event against the monks of St Titus.

After East had opened with One Club, South overcalled One Spade and the monastery team quickly reached the spade game.

Against Four Spades, West led 29. East cashed two club tricks then played a third round (to the accompaniment of Gallic splutterings) when Brother Paolo, an Italian monk, discarded a diamond from his hand and ruffed in dummy.

Next he led a trump, taken by East's ace, and who now led a fourth round of clubs. This promoted West's jack of trumps into a trick, and the "comedy of errors" proved to be the only way to defeat the contract.

Don't let my personal preferences deter you from acquainting yourself with David Bird's books. Terence Reese's comment could hardly apply in Bird's case, as they wrote many first-rate books together.