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.