Thursday, December 22, 2022

Not a Creature Was Stirring: Jane Haddam

Not a Creature Was Stirring is the first book in the Gregor Demarkian series by Jane Haddam. The series has 30 books, the last one published after Haddam's death. The first ten books in the series were set around holidays, and the books were sort of cozy. Later books were darker and more focused on issues. I have read the first 24 books in the series.

The story in this book is set at Christmas, and has a Christmas theme throughout. I have read this book three times, and it is my favorite book in the Gregor Demarkian series. Demarkian is a retired FBI agent, with a good reputation. 

The story begins a few days before Christmas when Demarkian is invited to dinner on Christmas Eve by Robert Hannaford, the immensely rich head of a large family in Philadelphia. Demarkian does not know Hannaford, nor does he know the reason for the invitation. When he arrives for dinner, Hannaford is dead in his study. Demarkian is eventually invited to consult with the police to investigate the crime.

The characters in this book are interesting and complex. Demarkian is a widower and recovering from his wife's death. Although he is retired, he is now finding that he misses the work. Robert Hannaford did not like any of his six children, but was devoted to his wife, who is very ill. When he dies, it is pretty clear that at least one of his children killed him. 

It had been long enough since the last time I read this book that I had forgotten who killed Robert Hannaford. I did know that one of the children continues throughout the series, but I still was wondering what the solution was up until the very end. 

This book was published as a paperback original in mass market format in December 1990. It has a very nice two page spread of a floor plan for the main level and the 2nd floor of Engine House, the Hannaford Estate. I love additions like that in mysteries.


Publisher:  Bantam, 1990. 
Length:     287 pages
Format:     Paperback
Series:      Gregor Demarkian, #1
Setting:     Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Genre:       Mystery
Source:     I purchased my copy.


Judith said...

Hi Tracy,
This one sounds like it's "right up my alley." I'll search for it, to see if I can purchase an e-book copy somehow. Like right now!
I'm wishing you a merry Christmas and loads of GOOD books in the New Year (No clunkers)!

Judith said...

Bought the ebook on Barnes and Noble for my Nook reader. Looking forward!

TracyK said...

Thanks, Judith. I hope your Christmas is merry too. And not too cold.

If you find a copy of Not a Creature Was Stirring, I hope you enjoy reading it and I think it is a worthwhile series to sample.

Your comment reminded me to find my copy of Death in the Off Season by Francine Mathews, and I am starting it tonight.

TracyK said...

Judith, I am happy that you did get a copy.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I read some of her books long ago. I wish I had kept track better.

Margot Kinberg said...

Oh, I liked this one very much, Tracy. I thought Haddam did a fine job of hiding the solution, but also 'playing fair' with the reader, and that's not easy to do! And for me, the Philadelphia setting really adds to this series.

Lark said...

I like when mysteries are set at large estates, especially at Christmas time.

TracyK said...

Patti, I have a lot of authors like that. I have tracked my reading since 2002, so twenty years, but before that it is mostly a blur.

TracyK said...

Oh yes, Margot, you have lived in Philadelphia. I hope to read a few more books in this series.

TracyK said...

I do, too, Lark. Usually that means I am reading about rich people, although sometimes one can own a big mansion but have little money. But I do like reading about rich people, which is an entirely different subculture.

Cath said...

This is a new series to me but it sounds really interesting and I love that cover!

Merry Christmas, Tracy. I hope 2023 is full of good books for all of us.

NancyElin said...

Basking in front of Yuletide fire place…enjoying my Xmas treats coffee and Ferro Rocher bonbons…trying to slog through another chapter of Rome by Zola….and of course thinking of you in sunny California. I’m waiting to hear the reindeer Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen…on my roof tonight! Have a great holiday with your family!

TracyK said...

Cath, I binge read the first twenty books in the series in 2005. The later books in the series I haven't liked as well but I still have 3 on my shelves and I hope to work them into my reading in 2023.

I also hope that 2023 is filled with good books for all of us. My reading in the last few months has been really fulfilling and I am sure that will continue in the months to come.

TracyK said...

Nancy, I am glad you are having a warm and tasty Christmas. I looked up Ferro Rocher candies and they sound delicious. Good luck with Zola.

It is sunny in Santa Barbara, with highs nearing 70, although inside it is cold. Our condo retains the cold, which is great for summer but not so good this time of year.

Tomorrow we will eat my husband's spaghetti and watch movies. You have fun too.

CLM said...

I read this when I was working at Bantam and it was new. I was a lowly assistant in the sales department trying to ingratiate myself with Kate Miciak who was the mystery editor and I think she gave me a copy. I don't remember why I wasn't sufficiently captivated to continue with the series but I know it is a favorite of yours.

One thing she told me was that she tried never to offer a contract to a writer without seeing two manuscripts. She didn't want to invest in an author who might be one-hit wonder. What a long time ago! I didn't realize the author had passed away.

TracyK said...

Constance, I always find your information about publishers and publishing interesting. I worked for ABC-Clio, a publisher of historical serials (and other things), for nearly 30 years, but I was a programmer analyst and was not exposed much to the editorial, etc., side of it. Plus their books were aimed at educational institutions, which is not as exciting as fiction.

I find Jane Haddam's books to be different in many ways from most mysteries, and it is hard to even describe how they differ. I loved the first 20, but I can see why some people don't care for them like I do. The later ones are oriented around issues.