Another psychologically fraught case for Scotland Yard's upper-class Inspector Thomas Lynley and his rough-hewn Sergeant Barbara Havers (Missing Joseph, 1993, etc.) as they grapple with the death, by fire in a cottage in Kent, of cricket star Ken Fleming. The cottage, which had been rented to the glamorous wife of the sponsor of Ken's cricket team, is owned by wealthy widow Miriam Whitelaw, who had been Ken's high-school teacher, then his employer at Whitelaw Printing, and a longtime mentor. Ken, on the verge of ending his marriage to Jean Cooper, was about to take 16-year-old son Jimmy (oldest of his three children) on a holiday to Greece on the night he died. Ken was in his mid-30s, of an age with Miriam's long-estranged daughter Olivia, who hasn't seen or spoken to her mother in ten years. Some years back, Olivia was saved from a life of lying, cheating, and whoring by Chris Faraday, a man dedicated to animal rescue and impervious to her dubious charms. But a devastating blow forces her return to the past -- just as Lynley and Havers are proclaiming their stalking-horse killer. Rambling and effusively wordy, Playing For the Ashes holds the reader in thrall to the end -- a tribute to George's literary skills and storytelling magic.