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Victor Mollo

Victor Mollo (17 September 1909 - 24 September 1987) was a British contract bridge player, journalist and author. He is most famous for his "Menagerie" series of bridge books, depicting vivid caricatures of players with animal names and mannerisms through a series of exciting and entertaining deals - bridge fables of a sort.


Mollo was born in St. Petersburg into a rich Russian family. When he was eight, the October Revolution occurred and his family fled Russia, travelling by a purchased train, with forged Red Cross papers, crossing into Finland, then Stockholm, Paris and finally London.

He attended Cordwalles School but neglected his studies and devoted himself to bridge. As an editor in the European service of the British Broadcasting Corporation, he began to write books and articles on the game. After retirement in 1969, he started to write even more extensively, and up to his death in 1987 he wrote 30 books and hundreds of articles. He was also active in developing bridge cruises, mostly in the Mediterranean. He died in London.

His life style was exceptional. He would play rubber bridge at his club each afternoon, enjoy a dinner and wine with his wife, whom he referred to as "The Squirrel", and then work all night until 6 am, when he would take a brief sleep. While he occasionally successfully competed in the major duplicate bridge tournaments, winning four national titles, he preferred rubber bridge. Many of his daily achievements at the rubber bridge table would become elements of fictional stories later in the night.

Menagerie series

The Bridge in the Menagerie series started with the book of the same name, originally published in 1965, which had several sequels on the same theme. (Most of the pieces in the books had previously appeared in either the British Bridge Magazine or the American The Bridge World - see the Acknowledgement section in the various books.) Mollo was recognised as "the most entertaining writer of the game" in a poll among American players in the 1980s. The books describe entertaining events at a rubber bridge table in "The Griffins Club" (duplicate bridge features only occasionally), involving fictional characters, many of whom are nicknamed after the animals whom they most resemble both physically and psychologically, and who caricature common archetypes of real-life bridge players. Mollo often refers to the main characters by their initials. They include:

Five books were published in the series while Mollo was alive, all with subsequent editions and printings:

After Mollo's death, further books in the series appeared, some making use of previously uncollected articles and others containing new material by Robert and Phillip King:



See Menagerie series, above.