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

(Inspector Lynley #7)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  14,140 ratings  ·  457 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
Hardcover, 619 pages
Published 1994 by Bantam
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Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
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. ...more
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Apr 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
So this one drags due to the narrative style. I didn't know who the heck Olivia Whitelaw was at first and even when I did find out, I didn't get what was going on until the very end. I have to say that the big left me feeling perplexed about a few things and I just didn't like how it ended. I can guess at what Lynley decides to do, but I wanted it spelled out. Yes, after reading more than 700 pages (yeah this book is a behemoth) treat me like I am stupid and tell me everything at that point. Als ...more
Feb 02, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Stef Rozitis
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
I liked this one better than the last one of these I read. I was quite engaged in Olivia's story for most of the book. In the end I just got worn down by sheer volume, there was too much of everything- emotion hardship, more emotion, miscommunication loneliness etc making all together a melancholy mood but I wasn't really into it. 680 pages is almost always too many and it was too many for me here- there were too many different things going on.

I am glad I liked Olivia because I really loathed mo
Toni Osborne
Jan 21, 2010 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
Apr 30, 2010 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
Azita Rassi
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The best in the series yet. Strong characterization, tense plot and sub-plots, multiple important themes that were all skillfully handled without dropping or sacrificing any of them. Beautiful.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Aug 25, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Erin Murphy
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
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
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
Jody Werth
Jul 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
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. ...more
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
I returned to Inspector Lynley with this one which was the one right before where I started reading this series. I was currently in a reading funk and long ago a (now former) co-worker suggested the Elizabeth George series when I was deep in a slump way back then (mid-to-late 90s). I've now eagerly followed along and loved this series ever since picking it up at #8. (In the Presence of the Enemy)

So when I was feeling like I was in another slump I thought Elizabeth George could pull me out of it
barbara n. holman
I have been reading the Inspector Lynley books in order and enjoying them very much. This is my least favorite so far, for many reasons. It is much longer than it needs to be, slow moving much of the time, laborious and even slightly repetitious, badly in need of better editing. It is weighted down with unnecessary description of details which only seem to sound like haughty sound-bites showing how much the author knows, and daring us to pick up a dictionary to look up some of her words. Or a ma ...more
Jul 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Allison Ann

(view spoiler)
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
ugh... this book was just a misery to wade through. Every one of the suspects / victims were appalling repulsive people. The only solution that I would have approved of was if they had ALL died in the fire. I came to hate the POV chapters. It's hard to separate the plot / mystery (not bad) with all of the excess & in my opinion unnecessary personal stories of the people who were involved in the murder / arson.

I'm giving this series one more chance, because I think they are well-written and I li
Sep 04, 2015 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. ...more
May 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book was unnecessarily long, the murder was vaguely described and Olivia was unlikeable. I had to bargain with myself to finish the book. Just about every character whined. I loved the first book of the series and was okay with the others but it’s becoming high soap opera. I missed St. James but he and Deborah whine too🙄. I’ll try one more.
Jun 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
Too many details. I got bogged down reading on and on and on about Olivia, who wasn't the most interesting person in the world anyway. More editing please. ...more
Susan Liston
I enjoyed this overall. But there were a couple of plot points that bothered me, unfortunately they were at the top of my phobic list. Animal abuse (yes, the character was fighting against this, but we had to hear about it and I had to skip skip skip) and illness. Those aspects of the story were unpleasant for me. I also was a little let down by the ending, but the suspense was nicely sustained through the majority of the book. After seven of these Lynley books I've gotten in the groove of them ...more
Suzanne Arcand
I was never a big fan of Elizabeth George. I’ve read a few of her novels because they were entertaining enough, if not memorable, until Careless in Red, which was truly bad. I decided to give her another go by reading her mystery that had the best rating on Goodreads “Playing for the Ashes” and, I have to admit that at first I enjoyed it.

Yes, the characters are wooden. Yes, yes, including Lynley, whom I know you love. I always preferred detective sergeant Barbara Havers his sidekick. Unfortunat
Dec 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anti-cozy murder mysteries. This is one tough, ugly read.
Recommended to Greg by: A non-goodreads member who prefers facebook. I don't get that.
After thinking about this overnight, I've had a change of mind about a few things.
-1) This is a murder mystery to be solved by experienced Inspectors and Detectives. Lynley actually says, "You can't be expected to anticipate evidence." So Scotland Yard doesn't train their employees to look for blood, footprints, clothing fiber, etc? Good grief, no surprise that there is no actual ending in this book (but one can make a pretty good guess and in the real world, not every crime is fully solved), Ly
Apr 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 30, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
I normally like Elizabeth George mysteries but this is a glaring exception. It is dark, depressing and the mystery is buried in the mundane and dreary existence of the principal characters. If this had been the first book by this author that I read, I would mark my list to NEVER PICK UP another of her books.

A man is apparently murdered, three women swirl around him, each other and various other characters in the book - often with little purpose other than to add to the depressing mood of the sto
Ruth Turner
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
This Novel was something else, boring boring boring. Her books could be 300 pages instead of over 600 if she wouldn't take a whole chapter to describe one thing. If she goes on like that in person she would put who ever she is talking to asleep. I'm getting ready to read the last one of her books that I have and it's over 700 pages so I can plan on being bored to death. Thankfully there are some good parts in her books. It takes me well over a week to read one of her books because once putting i ...more
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Does Lyndley get his killer, or let ( him) her go free 3 11 Dec 21, 2020 11:24AM  

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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

Other books in the series

Inspector Lynley (1 - 10 of 20 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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