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Playing for the Ashes (1994)

by Elizabeth George

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Lynley & Havers (7)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,187405,791 (3.78)36
In Britain, upper-class police inspector Thomas Lynley and lower-class police sergeant Barbara Havers team up to investigate the death of Ken Fleming, an all-England cricket player asphyxiated in a cottage fire. By the author of Missing Joseph.
  1. 30
    A Suitable Vengeance by Elizabeth George (Lila_Gustavus)
    Lila_Gustavus: a great murder mystery, makes you realize why George really is one of the top mystery writers today
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» See also 36 mentions

English (34)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (38)
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
"Ik mis de vlotte aanpak uit de eerste delen van deze reeks. Er wordt zo sterk gefocust op de personages en zo weinig op de echte onderhuidse spanning dat het vaak hetzelfde aanvoelde. Een rustige, voortkabbelende beek zonder hindernissen onderweg." https://elinevandm.wordpress.com/2019/05/31/waar-rook-is-van-elizabeth-george-3/ ( )
  elinevandm | Mar 31, 2022 |
Pros: sense of place (the barge, Isle of Dogs, cottage, etc.); handling of animal lib. theme; Cons: too long and drawn out; characters behaving oddly. It was adequate: it fulfilled the job of a novel and made me want to get to the end. ( )
  Je9 | Aug 10, 2021 |
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. Also the sides stuff with Lynley and Helen and Havers and her mother did not enhance the book this time. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out all of the players and motives.

"Playing for the Ashes" has a unique case for Lynley and Havers. They get called up to investigate whether Britain's star cricket player, Kenneth Fleming was murdered or committed suicide. It takes a while, but there are many we find out who loved him, hated him, and some that were jealous of him. You don't know who would want to kill him, but things start to zero in on one suspect after a while.

Lynley is still trying to get Helen to marry him. Yeah, I refuse to talk about this anymore. George keeps portraying women in her books as people who need to be handled which is steadily aggravating me. Lynley does this case quite systematically though with him and Havers playing off each other very well. There's a point in time though that it looks like Lynley could be getting into trouble with Scotland Yard since he has not closed his case fast and seems to be dragging his feet on charging the one person everyone believes did it.

So in this one just like in the last book though, the secondary characters shine more. Olivia Whitelaw I did not like at all. Even through the end of the book, I didn't care for her. However, having her narrate what reads as a letter to the reader was quite brilliant. Olivia's mother, well there was a lot going on there. And the character of Kenny I found loathsome once you found out what was going on there too. George manages to make you at turns feel sorry and also despise the same people paragraphs apart.

The writing was good, but honestly this book did not need to be 700 pages. I was so tired of everyone by the end of this book. This could have been much tighter. The flow was off too. Olivia's POV kept taking me out of the book since I didn't get what was going on there until the end. Once I got it, I did go back and re-read just her parts. We can get an inkling about some people based on what she says and doesn't say.

The book ends with a decision to be made by Lynley about that fate of several people. Since this is the 7th book, I can guess what road Lynley takes. However, as I said above, I rather it would have been said. Thank goodness Deborah does not make an appearance in this one. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
Quite evocative of place and time, precisely recreating both the collective social environment and the individual characters products of those environments -- and doing it well. But 672 pages for a detective story? Come on it's not War and Peace. The length was quite tiresome, and I started skimming later on in the book just to get on with the plot. ( )
  amaraki | Jun 19, 2020 |
george is a solid storyteller, though sometimes her plotlines really meander. this one is a bit more meander-y, so it was a challenge for me to get into a good rhythm with it for nearly the first half of the story. of course, i am super unwell, so my brain is like swiss cheese at the moment, with my focus and concentration shot to hell. still, this series is proving to be an excellent distraction and i am finding lynley, havers, et al very endearing as their characters develop. as with louise penny's 'inspector gamache' series, the mysteries are engaging, but it's really the main characters, the supporting characters, and the settings that help propel the stories. ( )
  JooniperD | Dec 18, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elizabeth Georgeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sandberg-Ciletti, MechtildTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Freddie Lachapelle
with love
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Chris has taken the dogs for a run along the canal.
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.... and John Lyon for the herculean task of schooling an American in the mysteries of that most elegant of games: cricket; .....
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In Britain, upper-class police inspector Thomas Lynley and lower-class police sergeant Barbara Havers team up to investigate the death of Ken Fleming, an all-England cricket player asphyxiated in a cottage fire. By the author of Missing Joseph.

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Average: (3.78)
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