Playing for the Ashes Mass Market Paperback – Aug 1 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
British crime writer George's seventh book featuring detectives Thomas Lynley and Barbara Havers spent seven weeks on PW's bestseller list.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
George is a gifted writer who spins rich, colorful, mesmerizing, multifaceted stories that combine an absorbing mystery with provocative insights into her characters' innermost thoughts and emotions. Her latest story once again features Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and his sidekick, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers. Chalk and cheese when it comes to background, philosophy, style, and personality, Lynley and Havers easily forget their differences when a tough homicide needs solving--take, for example, the asphyxiation death of renowned, all-England cricket player Kenneth Fleming. The duo's inquiries turn up some disturbing facts about the cricket star. Not only was his personal life a shambles, but he had a very odd relationship with a former teacher. The case is more byzantine than any Lynley and Havers have encountered in their years as a crack homicide team, and even when they've identified Fleming's killer, the file isn't really closed. As usual, there's more to think about in George's story than simply whodunit. Readers will be astounded by the ease with which she weaves complex relationships and provocative moral, emotional, and ethical questions into the compelling plot. Another tour de force from one of today's best storytellers. Emily Melton --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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, it seems that everyone knowing Fleming had motive to kill him. Once again they find themselves embroiled in a case where nothing and no one is really what it seems...
This astonishing story is brilliantly written, an intricately woven tale of psychological suspense. Through her characters, the author explores in depth the hate-love relationship people have for each other and their reaction facing adversity. Olivia who provides much of the story in her own words is a rich and complex character. We also have the continuing saga in the personal life of Lynley and Lady Helen with Barbara Havers slowly adjusting to her new home.
This is one absorbing story that will keep the reader guessing to the very last page. It is very captivating, I highly recommend it.
In this one, George takes a sharp turn. The complexity is still present but there is a bitterness here not found in her prior works. She never employs random killings, senseless crimes, or madmen. What she does do is paint a heart-rending portrait of the human condition better than anyone I know. Character and plot develop together - a difficult task that seems to be her forte. I wondered how the seemingly disparate parts related but never fear, they are joined in an incredible ending.
The characters in this book continue to haunt me. Ones feelings toward the "heroine" slowly evolve from revulsion to anger to pity to awe as the story proceeds. The way she connects animal rights, disease, sports and above all, human relations, is superb. This is without a doubt one of the finest mysteries ever penned.
~ - ~ One of Elizabeth George's strengths as a mystery writer is her ability to create complex intriguing characters, who can alternate between winning our sympathy and earning our intense dislike. She creates people in intolerable situations that bring out the best and even more strongly illustrated - the absolute worst parts of the character's personality.
~ - ~ This book may be the most intense of all. A young woman, alienated from her family, who is writing a journal, narrates most of the story. We understand from the beginning that her tale will somehow come to reveal important information about the death of a Cricket star, Kenneth Fleming.
Although, in the beginning, her story seems to have little to do with the murder, it is still the fascinating tale of her life. It is very intense and gritty reading about the wrongs committed by her mother and herself. She certainly doesn't paint herself in a rosy light.
It's only because she has reached some maturity of understanding, that we can dislike the actions she took in the past, and still have sympathy for her in the present.
~ - ~ Inspector Tommy Lynley and Sergeant Barbara Havers are investigating the murder. However, unlike the other books in this series, very little of the book is devoted to their lives. The story really belongs to the detestable and loveable narrator.
~ - ~ This is an absorbing and fascinating story, with an unexpected ending. Like all of George's books, you won't be able to put it down.
Her books are always incredibly involving, centring not just on the lives of the main characters, but featuring lives of all the subisidiary characters heavily. This makes the book feel more realisitc, lifelike. More true. After all, it is more like a proper murder case.
The writing is excellent. Sometimes she needs to learn the secret of brevity, though. Also, on occasion she takes the "show, don't tell" rule a bit too far. Nonetheless, her writing is often beautiful, complex, and a joy to read.
Her characters are so well developed. Its more like watching a real-life drama than it is reading a book. All their small insecurities, personality traits, personal relationships, interactions with other characters, are brought to the fore, making them jump off the page, and sometimes going a bit over the top. (Which is Elizabeth George's only crime.)
This is probably the best book, in terms of plotting, solution, structure, etc. The parrallel tracks the story runs on are done gloriously well, and they finally both converge together brilliantly. The solution is unexpted, and the culprit a surprise.
Overall, this is a very good crime novel, but it does suffer a bit from some of George's normal flaws. Her depictions of english life are apt to be a little off and over the top. SHe sometimes takes character development too far. And most of the books are a bit too long.
Nonetheless, i can live with all that. After all, this is still a really good mystery.
Most recent customer reviews
This book was the best I have read by Elizabeth George. She does not just write mysteries. Her plots are complex and cleverly blended to make for a book I could not put down. Read morePublished on July 16 2010 by Shelagh Klavir
Numerous reviews have detailed the virtues of this work. I especially agree with the praise for George's integration of multiple plot lines and her employment of a... Read morePublished on Feb. 25 2004
No plot twist goes unexexamined, and no sub-plot is too small, in this tedious, over-blown mystery. It takes true dedication to pull through.Published on Jan. 1 2004 by Barbara L. Pinzka
Having read the previous Lynley/Havers mysteries by Elizabeth George, I have come to expect nothing but the best from her and this book did not disappoint. Read morePublished on March 25 2003 by Louis M. Perdue
This book covers a tremendous amount of ground, and it is sometimes unclear how all the pieces fit together. Read morePublished on Sept. 10 2002 by Martha E. Nelson
I found this book to be about twice as long as should have been. In some places the dialogue just went on and on and on. With so few exciting events, it was a pretty dull book. Read morePublished on March 13 2002
I am very glad that I found Elizabeth George. I really love her books. Lynley and Havers are such a great team. They are so opposite that they complement each other. Ms. Read morePublished on March 9 2002 by Shirley Schwartz