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Playing for the Ashes (Inspector Lynley #7)

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  8,042 ratings  ·  215 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
Paperback, 688 pages
Published April 15th 2008 by Bantam (first published 1994)
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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
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
Kathy Davie
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
Toni Osborne
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
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 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
aPriL eVoLvEs (ex-Groot)
““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
Erin Murphy
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
Lisa (Harmonybites)
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
May 10, 2010 Andrea rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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...
Neill Smith
When Kenneth Fleming, English cricket legend, is murdered it falls to Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and his assistant, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, to unravel the clues at the scene as well as Fleming's relationships with his separated wife, lover, sons, daughter, and foster mother. Lynley is also trying to further his own romantic relationship and Havers is getting used to living on her own in a small cottage. But the case twists around the actions of sons and daughters and their tort ...more
Where is the line between helping someone and destroying them? How far can good deeds go before they can no longer be considered "good deeds"? Can good intentions ever excuse or justify bad actions?

These are only a few of the questions raised in my mind by this book.

In the sensational murder of a high-profile athlete in a quiet country cottage, and Olivia's (apparently-unrelated) first-person narrative which is interwoven with the investigation, those questions emerge repeatedly -- which, in my
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
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Excellent mystery. I've read it before and found that I had forgotten enough to make it enjoyable again, but remembered enough that I saw things in the story that I don't think I noticed before. This is one of those books that is hard to put down and it doesn't get boring. To the last page it is good.
There are a lot of characters here that one loves to hate: Miriam Whitelaw, Olivia Whitelaw, Ken Fleming, Gabriella Patten; even minor characters like Guy Mollison and Hugh Patten. Even Jeannie and
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I really enjoyed Olivia's story in this book. (view spoiler) ...more
Bisher habe ich nur Bücher von Elizabeth George gelesen, die mir wirklich gut gefallen haben. Gut gefallen also im Sinne von mitgerissen-und-nicht-mehr-losgelassen und vielleicht lag es an meinen sehr hohen Erwartungen, dass mich dieser Band um Lynley und Havers nicht begeistern konnte.
Es ist keinesfalls so, dass dieses Buch schlecht geschrieben ist, ganz im Gegenteil! Der Schreibstil der Autorin ist auch in "Asche zu Asche" flüssg und fesselnd. Vor Allem, wie sie den Umgang der verschi
Samyuktha jayaprakash
Wow. To read a book not knowing it is part of a series is good actually :P
Loved the book - procedural , mental and satisfying.
However found the length a bit too much for a murder mystery
wanted to know more about gabriella patten. Element of surprise fades cz of length of the book - we end up tying the knots ourselves .
Loved the language , characterization and the atmosphere of the novel :D
Looking forward to reading more from the lynley series :)
These books by Elizabeth George are my dirty little secret. Why? Because they read so much like soap operas. So many things that happen are far-fetched. Characters do things that aren't even remotely guessable by a reader. But I love them nonetheless.

Perhaps it is Barbara Havers, no nonsense woman that she is. She's pretty gross to be honest, she smokes like 2 packs a day and eats nasty food. I picture her just filthy and greasy. But I love her anyway.

Inspector Lynley, rich, snooty, quotes liter
Allison Ann

(view spoiler)
Angela Davies
I started reading this series a few months ago and have found some books are better than others. Playing For The Ashes was one of the poorer ones - very long but full of trivial detail e.g the chase between Lynley and Jimmy went on for several pages listing the many streets and various obstructions - why? It added nothing to the plot - was it to show how well the author knows London or just to make the book longer. I'm also starting to find Lynley very annoying so I'm not sure how far into the s ...more
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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)
A Great Deliverance (Inspector Lynley, #1) Well-Schooled in Murder (Inspector Lynley, #3) This Body of Death (Inspector Lynley, #16) Payment in Blood (Inspector Lynley, #2) Careless in Red (Inspector Lynley, #15)

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