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    Review of CRUISE BRIDGE by Don Von Elsner


    Max Hardy, 1980

    First a caveat. If you aren't a bridge player, you should run, not walk, from this story. CRUISE BRIDGE is a bridge lesson in the context of a travel story with just enough mystery plot to keep the reader entertained. If you are a bridge fan, however, and you haven't discovered author Don Von Elsner, you have a treat to look forward to.

    Jake Winkman, erstwhile bridge pro, gets a job as a cruise ship bridge instructor and invites the unnamed narrator as his assistant. Onboard, Jake and the narrator give bridge lessons (most particularly to the reader), squire women around, and become involved in a mild case of diamond theft and a confidence game/international drug smuggling operation. The bridge is taught at a useful level for both beginning and advanced readers with the bulk of the focus on play and reading cards and a useful discussion of limit raises.

    The book was published in 1980, but much of it was written earlier and it shows. Von Elsner has a problem with men with long hair and a sexist attitude toward women that may offend some readers. Still, a bridge book that tells a story, makes learning more about the great game fun, and generates a few good laughs is worth investing in.

    See more reviews of novels by Don Von Elsner.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 1/28/04

    CRUISE BRIDGE is currently out of print. You can often find copies on Amazon Z-shops. Click here to check.

    What do you think? Too generous? Too stingy? Or did I miss the entire point? Send your comments to Give me the okay to use your name and I'll publish all the comments that fit (and don't use unprintable language).

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