Not a Creature was Stirring by Jane Haddam

not-a-creature-was-stirringNot a Creature was Stirring by Jane Haddam
Series: Gregor Demarkian #1
Genre: Mystery
Setting: Philadelphia
Published by Road, 2013 (originally published 1990)
E-book, Kindle Unlimited
327 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: For former FBI agent Gregor Demarkian, retirement has just come to an abrupt end. What started as a mysterious summons to a Christmas Eve feast at multimillionaire Robert Hannaford’s isolated country estate was now an invitation to a murder scene. Demerol and a blood-covered statue had ensured that.

Red ribbon, green wreaths, and spilled blue blood… Christmas can be murder on the Philadelphia main line!

Add the late patriarch’s penchant for making enemies, seven siblings with ample reasons for wanting Daddy dead, plus a murderer with a genius for mayhem, and you’ve got local police begging the Bureau’s aging former ace to take up society sleuthing. But as the pieces fall into place, so do the bodies. And Gregor can hear the jingle bells toll – it’s going to be a lethal Yule.

Gregor didn’t see anything. Talking with Father Tibor Kasparian was like swimming in ink. It didn’t make any sense, and the world was dark.


“….It’s like something out of a Hercule Poirot novel. Do you read Hercule Poirot novels?”

“No,” Gregor said. “I probably ought to. The Inquirer called me an ‘Armenian-American Hercule Poirot.'”

“You’re too fat,” Jackman said, “and you don’t have face hair.”

Initial impressions

  • I like the main character Gregor a lot. And the setting is different from other mysteries I’ve read–an Armenian neighborhood in Philadelphia.


  • I really enjoyed this mystery. It’s much more mystery than Christmas story.
  • Gregor is an interesting character. His wife died, he retired from the FBI where he was famous, moved back to his old Armenian neighborhood in Philadelphia and isn’t sure what he’s going to do with the rest of his life. But his neighbors aren’t going to let him stay to himself.
  • I especially like all the Armenian characters–especially the older women who have an opinion about everything!
  • As a favor to the Armenian priest, Father Tibor, Gregor agrees to meet with a businessman, Robert Hannaford, on Christmas Eve in return for the businessman giving the church money. Gregor is reluctant, but agrees. However, before Gregor arrives a murder occurs.
  • Gregor helps the police try to figure out what has happened, but the businessman’s family is very dysfunctional. And they all seem to have motives. And more people die.
  • The portions about the murder and with the family aren’t filled with Christmas spirit. However, I really like his Armenian neighborhood and that so many of the people knew him as a child growing up there. The contrast between the Main line and the Armenian-Americans is really interesting.


  • The family is unpleasant so that part of the story wasn’t so fun though I like learning more about Gregor.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I’m looking forward to reading more books in this series.


  • Anthony Award Nominee for Best Paperback Original (1991)
  • Edgar Award Nominee for Best Paperback Original (1991)

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Jane Haddam (b. 1951) is an American author of mysteries. Born Orania Papazoglou, she worked as a college professor and magazine editor before publishing her Edgar Award–nominated first novel, Sweet, Savage Death, in 1984. This mystery introduced Patience McKenna, a sleuthing scribe who would go on to appear in four more books. Not a Creature Was Stirring (1990) introduced Haddam’s best-known character, former FBI agent Gregor Demarkian. The series spans more than twenty novels, many of them holiday-themed.

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Cloak & Dagger Mystery Challenge–hosted by Amy @ A Bookish Girl
  • New Author Challenge–hosted by the Literary Escapism blog