Bridge by Frank Stewart
A newspaper headlined a story about the unlikely recovery of a lost work of art: "Stolen painting found by tree."
Those trees are known for their detective work.
When I watched today's deal, Cy the Cynic wound up "unpoplar" with his partner. Cy was at the helm at a grand slam and had to find the queen of spades. He had to choose his play like a bee choosing which of two flowers to visit.
Cy won the first club with the king and ruffed his low club in dummy. He took the A-K of diamonds and led the jack. West ruffed with the nine of trumps, and dummy overruffed.
The Cynic next took the ace of spades and drew trumps. West threw three clubs. Cy cashed his ace of clubs - East-West followed - and led a spade at Trick 12. When West played the nine, I saw Cy press his luck by putting up the king. Alas, East showed out. Down one.
North voiced a resounding critique of Cy's play. "We will owe money after that one," North said firmly. "Yew should spruce up your technique. My dogwood have made that contract."
Cy was as penitent as a monk, but his play was spineless. He would soak up compliments instead of criticism aplenty if he counted East-West's distribution. Cy could recall that East had five diamonds and four trumps and had shown three clubs. So East had a spade singleton; a finesse with the jack would win.
Speaking of detective work, can you find the names of 15 trees in this column?