Literature: Bridge in the Menagerie

The Bridge In The Menagerie series is a series of humorous bridge books originally written by Victor Mollo, and continued after his death by Robert and Philip King. The characters in the series are mostly named after animals.

This series contains examples of:

  • The Ace: The Hideous Hog.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Charlie The Chimp - he frequently gets distracted with postmortem analysis of previously played bridge hands. This most often occurs when he should be focusing on his current hand instead.
  • Author Existence Failure: Victor Mollo died shortly after the fifth book in the series was published, but four more books (in some cases, using his unpublished material) have been released since.
  • Batman Gambit: Frequently how the Hideous Hog makes contracts over his opponents and defeats the contracts of his opponents, particularly Walter Walrus (who he can guarantee will hold onto sure high card winners to cover other high cards, even if it's obvious that taking certain tricks earlier are the only hope to prevail) and Papa the Greek (who loves falsecarding so much that the Hog even states that the by-the-book play would be a falsecard for Papa).
  • Born Lucky: The Rueful Rabbit; his results are way better than his lack of skill present. One common habit is playing the wrong card to a trick, throwing off his opponents' count of the hand.
  • Born Unlucky: Karapet - his style of play actually takes into account that his suits will split poorly, his finesses will fail, and all probability plays will work out in the most unfavorable fashion.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: The first book has a number of apparent club regulars who never appear again, such as the Doctor and the Keyhole Manufacturer.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Colin the Corgi.
  • The Eeyore: Karapet, the Free Armenian, who is convinced that all his bad luck is due to a curse placed on the Djoulikyans in the fourteenth century by the black witch of Ararat.
  • The Fool: Rueful Rabbit - unable to keep straight the standard recommended plays, or even what conventions to bid half the time, and more than capable of mixing up which cards he even holds or which card he meant to play... and yet, after the Hog (his most frequent partner), the most successful player in the series.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: The Hog once again, who has precious little patience for partners who make questionable moves. The only way of mollifying him is to somehow overcome the blunder (frequently by inducing worse blunders from the opposition).
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Frequently by the Secretary Bird, who will always insist on the by-the-book penalties for straying from the standard play. If his opposing partnership is the Rabbit and the Hog, it can practically be guaranteed.
  • Insufferable Genius: The Hideous Hog, who is the best player in the club, and never tires of letting everyone know it.
  • No Sense of Humor: The Secretary Bird.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The Emeritus Professor of Bio-Sophistry, more commonly known as the Secretary Bird. A stickler for the Laws of the game, sometimes verging on Lawful Stupid.
  • Rules Lawyer: Walter the Walrus, of sorts. He's very attentive to the "truisms" of the quality of hands and relies heavily on various maxims of play, regardless of whether indications from bidding and play suggest a different course of action. He'll heavily complain when "inferior quality" hands produce outsized results. More strictly the Secretary Bird, who will enforce the rule book regarding infractions... more than once ruining his chances at winning a hand in doing so.
  • Side Bet: The focus of the action is, naturally for a collection of bridge columns, the bridge hands themselves. However, it's frequent that various bets (usually bottles of wine) will be riding on the outcome of a hand or a series of hands. Some of the odder bidding sequences come from bids that would ordinarily be unorthodox but are made to attempt to secure one of these bets.
  • “Stop Having Fun” Guys: In-Universe, a regular accusation about the Secretary Bird, who is frequently the Hog's nemesis.
  • Straw Feminist: Molly the Mule, who insists on a man's being to blame for everything.
  • Too Clever by Half: Themistocles Papadopolous, aka "Papa the Greek". His results do not live up to his brilliance.
  • The Watcher: Oscar the Owl, "Senior Kibitzer" of the club. Seldom if ever plays, but loves to watch everyone else play.
  • Yes-Man: Timothy the Toucan; he knows he lacks talent, so he tends to suck up to partners to ingratiate himself.