Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Book Review – This book is so funny it got a little wet

I kept hearing for days about how funny Frank Vine’s book North of the Master Solvers’ Club was.

George Retek called to say he loved it and ordered about sixteen for Christmas presents.  (He already made the joke about how he actually did have sixteen friends).  John Carruthers asked for another one when he soaked his in the bath tub.  One of the proof readers said it was the best bridge book he had ever read and so on….

So I broke down and read it.  I started reading it in a chair in the family room and somehow it followed me around for the rest of the evening and right into the bath tub (well it didn’t actually hop in but it did get a bit splashed).  It was one of those books.  I even coerced Ray into reading me one of the stories just before I went to sleep.

I would read the introduction to each story and think, “this one won’t work or finally one I won’t like” and I would come to a place where I just laughed out loud.  There was just something special about the writing. 

Frank Vine was a Canadian bridge player (and a very good one too) who died around twenty years ago.  He wrote humorous fictional stories about bridge, often making a point while making us laugh.   When I read them they could have been written yesterday.

Sometimes they made me laugh out loud.  I loved the story “Wednesday the Rabbi played bridge”.  All the men will feel for the rabbi who has to play bridge with his wife who yells at him the whole time while making mistake after mistake.  I won’t ruin the story for you.  It is very good.  But I will say that perhaps the Rabbi should have remembered he was playing with Mrs. Guggenheim and been a bit less the unlucky expert. 

If you need some more confidence you will especially enjoy “The Man from La Mancha” where a young women learns a thing or two about spirit and bridge, after a game with a special man.  She has use of a Panic Button which provides some cryptic help just when she needs it most.  Maybe that is a good image I can use when I need it.

Sometimes they made me think and laugh.  For a great story that subtlely suggests that all may not have been on the up and up with some Italian teams you can laugh your way through “The Curse of the Blue Team”.

Every story is good, every deal is good, the writing is good, the parodies are good.  You can’t help laughing and learning at the same time.  Let see. “How many bridge friends are on my Christmas list”?

(A lot of these stories were previously published in The Bridge World.)


Frank van WezelNovember 12th, 2008 at 2:38 pm


I’ve “The best of Frank Vine’ published by The Bridge World.

Are these the same stories?


Frank van Wezel

lindaNovember 13th, 2008 at 11:26 pm

They include stories from that book and also others that were published elsewhere. I will check with Ray who put the compilation together and he can tell us how much overlap there is.

lindaNovember 14th, 2008 at 1:41 am

I asked Ray and he told me this book is about 3 or 4 times as big with a lot more material. Wait for his comment.

Ray LeeNovember 17th, 2008 at 6:03 pm

The original TBW collection ‘The Best of Frank Vine’ was 45 pages — NotMSC is over 180. About 1/3 of the pieces in the new book were in the original TBW book.

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