Thursday, May 26, 2022

Playing For The Ashes by Elizabeth George


When Inspector Thomas Lynley and his DS Barbara Havers are called out, they know it will be murder.  What they don't know is that this is a celebrity death with all the extra attention and scrutiny that entails.  Kenneth Fleming was a national hero, playing on England's cricket team.  He was the people's hero, having made the team not after attending fancy schools and colleges but as a grown man plucked from the factory floor after being spotted in an industrial league.

There are plenty of suspects to consider.  Fleming was found in the cottage of his mistress, Gabriella.  Her husband claims to know of the affair and care less.  There is Fleming's wife, who has been separated from him for four years but hopes always for a reconciliation.  His teenage son is full of rage at his father's absence and betrayal.  Kenneth has another strange relationship.  He lives with his mentor, the woman who used to be his teacher and who became his boss at the factory.  No one understands this relationship although there is plenty of gossip about it.  Had Fleming's affair with Gabriella crushed Mrs. Whitelaw's unspoken hopes?  Then there is Olivia Whitelaw.  She left her home and family as a rebellious twenty year old and hasn't spoken with her mother in years.  Mrs. Whitelaw has left her considerable fortune to Fleming, not Olivia.  Is there jealousy there?

Lynley and Havers work the investigation with plenty of pressure from above at the Yard and plenty of lies from every suspect.  Can they see through the lies to the truth of who killed Kenneth Fleming?

This is Elizabeth's George's seventh novel.  Her forte is the characters she creates and the web of lies they tangle around themselves.  Readers welcome another chapter in the story of Lynley and Havers and are familiar with their private lives.  The mystery is intricate and the unraveling is taut and satisfying.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

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