Divine Intervention by Terence Reese & David Bird

The fifth in the series of books about the Bridge playing Monks of the St.Titus monastery begins to flag.

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JPOC Rating

Seven out of ten. Not the best of this series.

My Review

This is the last book in the series of humourous pieces about the Bridge playing monks of St.Titus to carry the name of Terence Reese as a co-author. The series continued later with David Bird working alone after the death of Reese. The pieces here all appeared in various bridge magazines in the years immediately before publication in the book form. The original articles were the sole work of David Bird and Terence Reese helped to enhance them for publication in book format.

As is the case with the other books in the series, the book contains a series of chapters each dealing with a particular fictional bridge theme with the characters that have been established over the years. As well as being the last book with Reese's involvement, it is the last in the series to feature the fictional missionary outpost in Africa. Political correctness having finally quashed a very funny setting.

All of the hands pose an interesting play problem and, as well as showing the solution, the authors describe the analysis process by which the players arrive at the correct (or wrong) line of play. The post mortem discussion for each hand, as well as being amusing, gives a further picture of the way that a hand might have been played. It's a little frustrating that this section varies quite a bit in detail. On some hands, all that is said is something like "leading a spade would break up the squeeze" with no real clarification of the position. That's fine for some readers but more detail might make the position clearer for others.

Reading this book, I got the feeling that some of the characters are getting a little stale and that has cut into the humour factor to an extent. From a Bridge point of view, the problems posed and the exposition of the way in which they are solved are as good as ever. My recommendation is that you do not buy this book as an introduction to the series. Any of the earlier books in the series, particularly "Miracles of Card Play" or "Unholy Tricks", would make a better introduction.