Death by Contract - A Bridge Novel

 

 

 

 

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From the Publisher

The late Terence Reese, a world champion involved in a 1963 cheating scandal that haunted him until his death in 1995, once commented that "the world of top flight bridge harbors maggots that no self-respecting stone would shelter." Shirley Presberg has perfectly captured the zany denizens of this demimonde and brought them to life in a book destined to become a classic of the genre.

Not since Richard Powell's Tickets to the Devil has a writer with a gift for witty and penetrating dialogue and an eye for the foibles and eccentricities of the human condition addressed this intellectual battlefield in a novel. Tournament bridge is a game played, not for something as sensible as money prizes, nor from patriotic motives for the honor of one's homeland and Olympic glory. No, bridge tournaments are contested mainly for fiscally useless masterpoints, coin of the realm only in the Land of Giant Egos terra cognita for serious players.

To fully appreciate the economic contrariness of bridge players, it should seem unremarkable that, when some very clever people wrote a bridge musical and performed it for free at a North American Bridge Championship, only a few hundred of the several thousand people in attendance took advantage of the opportunity to form an audience. True to form, the majority either played in a game starting at midnight, or retired to the bar or lobby of the host hotel to rehash the day's interesting deals until the wee hours.

Shirley Presberg gives the reader an expertly guided and entertaining tour of this strange culture, where a "geek" who can "turn the dummy" gets more dates as a bridge partner than the "hunk" who can't follow suit, and where an alcoholic who works magic with the cards, is more highly esteemed than the CEO with an eight figure income who just put a "cold game on the floor." So curl up with this mystery, and enjoy the ride.