Playing for the Ashes Summary & Study Guide

Elizabeth George
This Study Guide consists of approximately 35 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Playing for the Ashes.
This section contains 610 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Playing for the Ashes Summary & Study Guide Description

Playing for the Ashes Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Playing for the Ashes by Elizabeth George.

Playing for the Ashes is a novel by award-winning author Elizabeth George. In this novel, a popular cricket player is found dead in a country cottage where he was not supposed to be. As the detectives from New Scotland Yard investigate the crime and begin to put together the events of the victim's final night, another character tells her story. When it all comes to a conclusion, one of the inspectors will be left with a moral decision that could affect several lives. Playing for the Ashes is a mystery, but it is also a novel that studies human conflict in depth, leaving both a main character and the reader with a moral dilemma that will stick with them even after the last sentence is done.

The milkman discovers evidence of a fire in Celandine Cottage. When the police arrive, a body is discovered in the upstairs bedroom. However, the body found does not belong to Gabriella Patten, the young woman who has been living in the cottage, but is her lover, cricket player Kenneth Fleming. The police quickly begin investigating the fire, deciding almost immediately by the evidence that the fire was set intentionally. With this information, a murder investigation is launch and New Scotland Yard is called in to help.

Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley and his partner, Sergeant Barbara Havers, begin their investigation by visiting the cottage with Inspector Ardery, the fire inspector from Kent. Lynley and Havers then interview Mrs. Miriam Whitelaw, the owner of the cottage. From Mrs. Whitelaw, the inspectors learn that Gabriella Patten was staying in Celandine Cottage while separated from her husband. Mrs. Whitelaw then insists that Kenneth was not at the cottage, but on his way to Greece with his son, Jimmy. Mrs. Whitelaw shows the detectives Kenneth's room where they find two tickets to Greece in a jacket pocket.

Lynley and Havers continue their investigation, interviewing the captain of the English cricket team, Guy Mollison. This interview appears to lead nowhere, but when Mollison shows up at Lynley's townhouse the following day, he has information that could break open the case. Mollison knows where Gabriella Patten, who has been missing since the night Fleming died, is hiding. Gabriella tells the detectives about a fight she had with Fleming, in which he accused her of having multiple affairs. Gabriella claims that there was an angry confrontation and then she fled in Fleming's car. Lynley returns to the cottage and finds evidence to support Gabriella's story.

Lynley and Havers interview Fleming's wife and son, Jimmy. Jimmy is sullen and uncooperative; therefore, Lynley and Havers take him to New Scotland Yard to interrogate him. Jimmy confesses to the murder, but Lynley immediately recognizes inconsistencies in Jimmy's confession. Lynley brings Jimmy in on a second occasion and openly admits to noting the inconsistencies. When Lynley goes a third time to bring Jimmy in, Jimmy flees and ends up in the river. Lynley jumps in after him and rescues the young man. This leads to another confession in which Jimmy admits to having seen a woman at the cottage the night his father died. Jimmy believed this woman was his mother, but is assured that she was not.

Lynley has come to the conclusion that he knows who the killer is, but this suspect has an airtight alibi. Lynley goes to the killer's daughter and asks her to come clean about the events of that night, proving the alibi false. However, when the daughter comes forward with the truth, she also reveals several other truths that place Lynley in a position of making a moral choice between the law and basic morality.

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This section contains 610 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Playing for the Ashes Study Guide
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