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David Bird, known world-wide for his tales of the bridge-crazy monks of St Titus, moves to a hilarious new setting. Bridge is a compulsory subject at Cholmeley school and a host of vibrant characters participate in the action. Madame Baguette, the Senior French mistress, chases any master whose hair is still where it should be. They, meanwhile, turn a roving eye towards Yvonne Guitton, the junior French mistress. And woe betide any unhappy boy (or member of staff) who finds himself partnering the irascible Headmaster.

As with all David Bird’s books, it is not just a matter of the readers being convulsed with laughter. The bridge is as brilliant as ever, and by the time the final episode is reached, much sound bridge instruction has been painlessly absorbed. Which is more than can be said for those poor unfortunates caught playing a torch-lit rubber after lights-out.