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Playing for the Ashes [Mass Market Paperback]

Elizabeth George
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 1 1995
"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 of passion, murder and love in which Inspector Thomas Lynley and Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers once again
find themselves embroiled in a case where nothing--and no one--is really what it seems.  Intense, suspenseful and brilliantly written, Playing for the
will make readers "search out the sleuthing pair's first six adventures...a treasure," as Cosmopolitan predicted in their review.

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Product Details

Product Description

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.

From Booklist

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Returning Again and Again April 9 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Playinng for the Ashes is the best mystery I have ever read. The skill of the narrative is amazing. I am a student of Henry James and know he himself would be astounded at the complex weaving of character and situation and the evolution of a self-centered, self-destructive young woman into a caring and loving individual. Chris Farady has to be one of the great characters of the English novel. George has a way of putting true goodness on the page that is utterly credible and, most of all, ever human. I love this book and turn to it over and over. I feel the characters are real people who influence the ways I think and treat others. I hope Elizabeth George brings these characters back to us, as she does her major ones.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly Written Feb. 12 2010
By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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, 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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magestic work of Art, Nov. 8 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have read all the Elizabeth George mysteries starting with A Great Deliverance that I happened to buy one night at a book store. I was ready to walk out and the sales lady said, "Try this one if you like mystery and intelligence." I was hooked.
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
. . . .~ ~ - ~ ~
~ - ~ 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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best one yet April 26 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This, basically, normal George. Exactly what we have come to expect from a practioner of some really beautiful english language.
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.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner
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 more
Published on July 16 2010 by Shelagh Klavir
4.0 out of 5 stars Commendable, but...
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 more
Published on Feb. 25 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Excruciatingly dragged out
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe the Best Thus Far?
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 more
Published on March 25 2003 by Louis M. Perdue
4.0 out of 5 stars A lot in one book!
This book covers a tremendous amount of ground, and it is sometimes unclear how all the pieces fit together. Read more
Published on Sept. 10 2002 by Martha E. Nelson
3.0 out of 5 stars Stretching the story
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 more
Published on March 13 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Like All the Books in This Series
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 more
Published on March 9 2002 by S. Schwartz
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible - over long
I read the first 300 pages then gave up completely frustrated at the amount of time I had wasted. I skipped to the last few chapters to find out "who dunit" and even... Read more
Published on Dec 9 2001
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