Monday, April 06, 2009

Not for the Squeamish

So I see Val McDermid is to appear with other celebrity guests in a series of TV programmes about Bridge. Tony Hill’s psychological profile of a Bridge club killer could make chilling reading, a worthy addition to McDermid’s oeuvre of grisly crime thrillers.

I remember the first time I sat down to play Bridge, at County Hall c.1973. It promised a cheap and harmless evening’s entertainment.

My seat was directly opposite the window, so I was half-blinded by light from a low sun bouncing off the Thames. By some stroke of misfortune I was declarer, and fumbled across the table towards the dummy hand.

‘You touch the card, you play the card!’ a voice shouted into my left ear. It was my introduction to the cut-throat world of competitive Bridge.

Since then I’ve witness some vicious altercations and even fisticuffs. Bridge history includes a case of a woman who shot her partner for poor play. That was in America, but it’s definitely not a game that brings out the best in people. In fact, I’ve included a Bridge group in my novel-in-progress, called ‘Murder on Course’.

I expect the TV series will point up the enjoyable aspects of the game and the players will be on their best behaviour for the camera. Just so long as viewers don’t come away with the idea that club play is all nicely-nicely. On the contrary, it’s not for the squeamish and McDermid can’t fail to be inspired - I know I was.

Bridge on TV:


Katy said...

Sounds brilliant. I'll have to keep an eye open for that programme.

I've never yet played bridge (I'm a bit of a secret poker fiend) but my sister and her-then fiance went to some evening classes to learn how. They've been married 12 years now. They never mention it.

Sheila Cornelius said...

Katy, the accepted wisdom is never play with your husband/wife. Kitchen Bridge is Ok - it's just the club variety that gets vicious.