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Playing for the Ashes (Inspector Lynley #7)

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  11,025 Ratings  ·  307 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 ta
Paperback, 688 pages
Published April 15th 2008 by Bantam (first published 1994)
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(showing 1-30)
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Khanh (the meanie)
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.
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
Feb 02, 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
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
Kathy Davie
Apr 25, 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 with Inspector Thomas Lynley and Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers with this particular story set in Kent.

My Take
Excellent as always. George is rather scary in some ways with how impossible it seems to solve the crime that occurs, and yet she lays it out for us in such a logical manner that it all makes sense in the end, even as she points the finger from one person to another after another.

Most of the story is a buildup of
Toni Osborne
Jan 21, 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
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
Apr 30, 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
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
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
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Aug 25, 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
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
Diana Donnelly
Mar 30, 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
Jul 23, 2017 Colleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now this review might be a bit biased because I am a huge fan of the Inspector Lynley series on PBS and while I know that in the novels he is blonde, I couldn't help picturing Nathaniel Parker. That being said, this novel did not disappoint me in the slightest. The prose was easy to fall into, the characters were flawed and real and compelling, and there was a good balance between the detectives personal lives and what was happening in the mystery. It is rare that I am unsure of who the killer i ...more
Mar 12, 2017 Roxanne marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: coun-libstl
I like the series okay, but in a year I have only gotten this far so in interest of all the books on my tbr I am calling quits.
Jun 30, 2010 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 17, 2012 Deb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 29, 2012 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.
Sep 04, 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?
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.
Sep 04, 2015 Elaine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 02, 2010 Andrea rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Andrea by: AAUW book sale
Shelves: murder-mystery
While I did like this better than the others from this series that I've read, I wasn't crazy about it. There was way too much going on, from cricket to animal rights to ALS to family relationships. All the threads did tie up in the end, but I would have liked it better if a few of them had been edited out.
Elizabeth George is the best mystery author I have found. She's a master of intricate character development and her mystery novels read like classic English lit. The story and characters always hook you in...
Karin Slaughter
Nov 14, 2013 Karin Slaughter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
my favorite in the series. Really tight plot and great pace.
Elizabeth George is great at building plots slowly and steadily. I was sure that I had figured out the "who", but not the "why" about two-thirds of the way through the book. Then the author added a twist and I didn't have any idea who the killer was until more layers and details had been added. The relationship between Lynley and Helen continues to grow in this book and Sergeant Havers' character is further developed as well.
Karen Barth
Feb 14, 2017 Karen Barth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the best I've read so far. It starts out a bit slow, and you are reading what appears to be two stories, Olivia's and a murder case that Lynley is investigating. The stories pick up speed as they head on a collision course at the end. Both stories are interesting in themselves but more so as you see where they are heading. Highly recommend this one!
The central characters are stereotypical representation of people from the low, middle and high class whose stories are interwoven. What works is the introductions and narrations of these characters but what doesn't is the flimsiness of the plot itself.
A good "masala" book with a mediocre plot but elaborate premises.
Jody Werth
Jul 17, 2017 Jody Werth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is way, way too long. By the time I had 150 pages left I didn't care who did it, I just wanted it to be over.
May 05, 2017 Debbie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Long book with much character development. But enjoyable. I didn't like the abrupt, not spelled out ending. What happens next? I can surmise but personally, I like the bow tied.
Mar 17, 2017 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is by far the best of the George books that I have read. It is, as always, well written and excellently plotted. The story line is very imaginative ... I changed my mind about the likely culprit several times throughout the book. I also enjoyed the sidelight stories of the life and pursuits of the continuing characters in the series. They continue to grow and develop. The characterizations are outstanding.

I enjoyed the various points of view presenting the story. The chapters devoted to Ol
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Does Lyndley get his killer, or let ( him) her go free 1 3 Jan 11, 2017 06:49AM  
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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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