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Playing for the Ashes (Inspector Lynley, #7)
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Playing for the Ashes (Inspector Lynley #7)

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,068 Ratings  ·  285 Reviews
"The story begins with my father, actually, and the fact that I'm the one who's answerable for his death.It was not my first crime, as you will see, but it is the one my mother couldn't forgive."In her astonishing New York Times bestseller, acclaimed author Elizabeth George reveals the even darker truth behind this startling confession. Playing for the Ashes is a rich tale ...more
Kindle Edition, 706 pages
Published (first published 1994)
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Khanh (the Grinch)
I haven't always been fond of George's narrative style, and in the later books, the different POVs drove me nuts. That said, this book has one of the best characterization I've read in her books. Brilliant.
aPriL does feral sometimes
““In England the term “the Ashes” signifies victory in test cricket (cricket played at the national level) against Australia.””

The preceding quote is from the book. However, if you, gentle reader, are thinking, “I bet actually the title of this mystery genre novel is a sly double entrende about a dead body” you are right! The only thing this book has to do with game of cricket is that one of the characters is a star cricket player. But if you really are a fan of cricket and are expecting a game
Mary Gilligan-Nolan
This was a big book, 681 pages and it too me over a week to read it, but it was worth it. Elizabeth George gets better by the book. A first class writer and story-teller, that keeps you in your seat, not wanting to put the book down. This one was about the murder of an England Cricketer, Kenneth Fleming, found dead a as result of an arson attack, in the cottage of his lover, who seems to have vanished. There are suspects abound for Lynley and Havers, plenty of motives for the death of Kenneth Fl ...more
Mar 12, 2014 Eve rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014
Playing for the Ashes is the 7th book in the Inspector Lynley mystery series. Like all of her books, even a seemingly open and shut case is vastly complicated, as the motives for murder, and equally unhelpful suspects, slowly amass. “The Ashes” historically refer to the prize that is awarded in a Test cricket series played between England and Australia, and is fitting for a title, as the victim in this case turns out to be Kenneth Fleming, a late rising star on England’s team, murdered on the ev ...more
Kathy Davie
Apr 26, 2011 Kathy Davie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Seventh in the Inspector Lynley mystery series set in modern-day London.

The Story
The title is a play on a particular cricket game, The Ashes, traditionally played between England and Australia. The fact that this particular cricketeer died from carbon monoxide in a house fire…well, I'll leave it to you to judge as to how much of a play the title is.

Kenneth Fleming is the center around whom everyone involved pivots when he is found dead in a cottage owned by Miriam Whitelaw, his teacher, most fer
Erin Murphy
Mar 01, 2014 Erin Murphy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beware of Spoilers (also applies to Missing Joseph)
I appreciate the complexity and skill of intertwining another character's voice into the storytelling of this novel. While Olivia is unlikable in many instances, her story is interesting and develops in ways I didn't expect. In addition to the central mystery of the whodunnit, the story is propelled along by the mystery of her past and how she connects to the crime.

Also I realized after the sixth book, Missing Joseph, that I actively disl
Toni Osborne
Feb 11, 2010 Toni Osborne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book 7 in the Inspector Lynley series

This is one edge of the seat gripping mystery offering several plots within its main plot, a great work of detective fiction, one of Ms George’s best.

The story opens when the body of England’s leading batsman Kenneth Fleming is discovered in a burnt out country cottage, an apparent victim of arson. Inspector Lynley and his partner Barbara Havers are called in from Scotland Yard to help the local police. Further investigation reveals a multitude of suspects, i
Jamie Collins
Aug 30, 2010 Jamie Collins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another good Inspector Lynley mystery. The soap opera is more engrossing than usual, even though the first character introduced, Olivia, is so vile that I thought for a while that I wasn't going to enjoy the book at all. Her story is presented in first person, as she's writing an accounting of her life, and the early chapters are seriously off-putting.

Because of the title (the term "the Ashes" signifies victory in test cricket against Australia) I was half hoping, half dreading that there would
May 07, 2010 Lobstergirl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: glib fanny rats
A typical George mystery, with her detectives Lynley and Havers well, convincingly, and likeably written and a few of the other characters scarcely believable and frankly nauseating. (Olivia in particular, who is misanthropic and virulently self-destructive up until the last few pages.) As is her wont, sports and causes are invoked (cricket and anti-vivisectionism). She overwrites: "Sodden cornflakes and ever-darkening banana slices marked the trajectory of the cereal bowl she'd upended." First, ...more
Een interessant thriller van Elizabeth George, met wederom inspecteur Thomas Lynley en brigadier Barbara Havers in de hoofdrol. Ik heb al meer delen van deze serie gelezen. Helaas niet in volgorde, omdat ik niet alle delen heb. Ondanks dat is het boek goed te volgen. Elk boek is toch een afgerond geheel. De boeken van Elizabeth George hebben altijd een wat trage opbouw en het duurt vaak lang tot je bij de ontknoping bent. Dat is het wachten echter wel waard. Haar boeken draaien vaak meer om het ...more
Apr 28, 2012 Laurie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Inspector Lynley series is really growing on me. I admire that the author doesn't follow a set formula. Although there are the main characters of Thomas Lynley (posh detective and reluctant Lord), frumpy but ballsey sidekick policewoman, best friend handicapped forensic scientist who is married to his butler's beautiful photographer daughter who once ran around with said posh detective, etc. the author used varied means to tell the story in each book. One book may be told from the main detec ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Aug 30, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lynley Fans
I thought this one was an improvement over Missing Joseph, the last entry in the Lynley Mysteries and my least favorite of the novels to date. That one barely featured my favorite character in the partnership of Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers--here she's back in form. And it's not just her presence per se I missed, I think Lynley is a better, more interesting character with her to play off of as well. I remember one scene--the "Kwai Tan" bluff by Barbara ...more
Diana Donnelly
Aug 18, 2016 Diana Donnelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the 7th book in the series. I'm very fond of the author's writing style and her extensive vocabulary. This book held my attention but as I drew close to the conclusion I found I wasn't totally satisfied. Perhaps with this mystery she will expound on final results, but I'm truly dubious about that occurring. Other authors have left me wondering about the final result and I guess they opt for the reader to draw her on conclusion. I'm not one who likes to do that. Aside from that I want to ...more
Sep 24, 2012 Jeni rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another good one in the Inspector Lynley series. In this one, it's not so much a who-dun-it, since I figured out early on what was going on. But it was still an enjoyable read. It left a few things dangling at the end, so you're not sure how things eventually turned out with some of the characters, but I guess that's like life, isn't it?
Oct 23, 2015 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As always, Elizabeth George brings her characters to glorious, blazing and often painful, life. "Painful" because she has the ability to write about emotions and actions in ways that allow us to absorb understand the underlying a way that's familiar to our lives even though most of us have never done some of these things.

This novel would appear to be centred on that popular British sport -cricket - and when a top cricketeer gets killed it's very big news. But really, it ha
Jun 05, 2015 Ali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2015
At first I was really annoyed by the portion of the book given over to Olivia's narrative, because it seemed unconnected and unnecessary and I felt like it was just making the book much longer than it should've been. But then by the end, the connection was clear and I understood the parallels that George was drawing between the various story lines.

One minor criticism, though, was that Havers seemed a bit overly dense in this book -- normally I feel like she may not have the insights that Lynley
Sep 05, 2013 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Wow! Think I posted an update on this book, commenting that it was like reading a bible. I was reading a hardcover version that was so heavy. It didn't help that 1/3 or maybe more of this book shifted focus to a non-recurring character that was really not very sympathetic or likable. Who wants to keep ready a heavy book that constantly shifts to the perspective of a self-centered, self-delusional and thoroughly amoral "bitch". I hate using the term bitch for women, but in the beginning, that is ...more
Jan 21, 2015 Jocelyn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
One of England's best batsmen has been murdered. The investigation unravels his complicated personal relationships: his wife and their three children, including a rebellious 16-year-old boy; his mistress, her husband (a team sponsor), and another of her lovers (the team captain); his former fifth form teacher and benefactor, along with her terminally-ill daughter and her housemate. So, which one killed Kenneth Fleming, and why?

And why did I read this book after not liking the previous two instal
Sep 06, 2015 Elaine rated it liked it
As with others in this series, "Playing for the Ashes" gets bogged down in parts. However, unlike the others, this one spent so much time on the life of one of its characters, the reader could easily forget (s)he was reading a police procedural. The investigation seemed to play much less of a role, making this more character-driven.
Sep 25, 2012 Deb rated it it was amazing
Ken Fleming, England's cricket superstar, has died in a fire in Kent. Since the fire is determined to be arson, and several persons of interest are in London, Inspector Lynley is asked to the local inspector. Meanwhile Olivia Whitelaw, long estranged from her family, and suffering from ALS begins a journal explaining the estrangement as well as the dilemmas facing her about her future care, and what she knows that might assist Lynley. And through it all, Lynley and Helen are still trying to defi ...more
Samia Ruponti
Mar 17, 2016 Samia Ruponti rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Writing wise, it was good. A bit less engaging than the previous one, but it was still good. What I didn't get was the motive.

And Lady Helen is seriously getting on my nerves! If I continue with the series, I swear it will be because of Barbara. I'm insanely curious to find out what happens between her and her new neighbor!
Aug 12, 2016 Megargee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As is usual in these Inspector Lynley and Sgt. Haver novels, American Anglophile Elizabeth George weaves two story lines. One is the ongoing story arcs of posh Lord Lynley and working class Sgt. Haver. The other is the unfolding of another complex mystery, this involving a case of arson that deliberately or accidentally results in the death of a prominent cricket star.
With regard to the ongoing back story, Haver is dealing with life on her own after having put her cognitively impaired mother
Marie-Jo Fortis
Feb 04, 2015 Marie-Jo Fortis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If cricket is in the background of this novel, other games are developing under the reader’s eyes.

Some—not all—of the suspects here look more like victims than villains. The victim himself, a beloved cricket champion, was more stable with his bat than with women or his all too often neglected children. His attempt at regulating his life will ironically lead to tragedy.

Built like a complex jigsaw puzzle where tortured characters seem to further disassemble the pieces, Playing for the Ashes is
Aug 06, 2014 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Number 7 in the Inspector Linley mystery series was about the murder of an England Cricket player, Kenneth Fleming, found dead a as result of arson, in the cottage of his lover, who seems to have vanished. It seems that everyone knowing Fleming had motive to kill him. Linley and Havers find themselves with a case where nothing and no one is really what it seems.

The writing style is unusual. Two alternating storylines ultimately converge. One story follows Lynley and Havers as they investigate th
Janet Mahlum
Feb 01, 2016 Janet Mahlum rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoy Elizabeth George's books and I do wish I could get the Mystery CD's from Netflix. I have started a notebook with vocabulary from the Elizabeth George books. As I read in a Goodreads review, it's like doing the vocabulary tests in Readers Digest. However, in this book, she got a little carried away. Many of the words I had to look up were listed as "rare," "archaic" or were British words. I had to have the Oxford English dictionary at the ready for all the British slang words in th ...more
Aug 02, 2015 Sharon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: before-goodreads
My first Elizabeth George, I don't remember enough to write a review. What I can remember is being mesmerized and not being able to put it down. I haven't read a lot of her books, the size is a bit daunting but my intention is to start at the beginning and read through. It came as a huge surprise to me that the author is American, would never have guessed it. I think reading through them will be a worthwhile journey.
Oct 21, 2014 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth George is back in form after a bobble in the last book, Missing Joseph. Playing for the Ashes is a great mystery set against the gritty and sometimes graphic world of modern-day police work, a poignant relationship between an animal-rescue activist and a former (if not exactly reformed) prostitute, a woman who is like a black widow manipulating the creatures in her web while retaining some sympathetic qualities, and of all things English, cricket. The developing characters and relation ...more
Feb 08, 2015 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery, series
Another fantastic instalment in the Inspector Lynley series. I so admire Elizabeth George, who I feel gets stronger with every book. Her willingness to create complex, dense mysteries is really a joy to read.

This book ups the ante yet another step - introducing the first person voice of another character alongside the normal third person narration. It was jarring at first, and the character Olivia is a LOT to handle, but as the story developed it became a rich secondary look at the psychology of
Agnes Ross
Apr 30, 2015 Agnes Ross rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This murder mystery about Scotland Yard's Lord Asherton is also a book about love in a thousand guises. It's about love between lovers, love that's celibate, love between parents and children and siblings. It's also about how love can cause hate to sprout, and from hate to murder. I love Elizabeth George!!
the new year is all about reading mysteries in mass paperback sizes for me and catching up on series that I have not completed. this was a good entry in this series. she is such a good writer (and there are so many bad ones in this genre) though I did think the story was a little long-winded and "slight" in the end.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Susan Elizabeth George is an American author of mystery novels set in Great Britain. Eleven of her novels, featuring her character Inspector Lynley, have been adapted for television by the BBC as The Inspector Lynley Mysteries.

She was born in Warren, Ohio, but moved to the S
More about Elizabeth George...

Other Books in the Series

Inspector Lynley (1 - 10 of 19 books)
  • A Great Deliverance (Inspector Lynley, #1)
  • Payment in Blood (Inspector Lynley, #2)
  • Well-Schooled in Murder (Inspector Lynley, #3)
  • A Suitable Vengeance (Inspector Lynley, #4)
  • For the Sake of Elena (Inspector Lynley, #5)
  • Missing Joseph (Inspector Lynley, #6)
  • In the Presence of the Enemy (Inspector Lynley, #8)
  • Deception on His Mind (Inspector Lynley, #9)
  • In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner (Inspector Lynley, #10)
  • A Traitor to Memory (Inspector Lynley, #11)

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