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Cankered Roots (Alex and Briggie #1)

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  284 ratings  ·  65 reviews
Alexandra Campbell, a spunky young widow, partnered with Brighamina Poulson, an even spunkier, rifle-toting grandmother thinks that as they have begun a genealogy business (RootSearch, Inc.), it is high time she finds out her family secret. Something went wrong in her family during her adolescence, changing her mother from a Chicago North Shore matron into an alcoholic and ...more
Hardcover, 227 pages
Published 1994 by Deseret Book Co.
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Jaidis Shaw
Cankered Roots by GG Vandagriff is an emotional tale of love, loss and finding out who you are. Alex, a genealogist, takes a break from helping others learn about their family trees and concentrates on her own. Desperately wanting to have a family after her husband's death, she sets out to uncover the grandfather she barely knew and whom her parents are determined to forget ever existed. What she begins to uncover reminds Alex that sometimes it is better to leave things buried in the past.

I don't have much to say about this book because frankly, I did not enjoy it all that much.
Cankered Roots is the story of Alex Campbell and her search for answers to her past. Alex has not seen or spoken to her parents in years and after confronting them about the "family secret" her father is murdered. Alex and her friend/business partner begin to unravel the secret through genealogical research in order to catch the murderer.
The characters were flat and I often found myself wondering what thei
This was a book group read. It is sort of Mormon fiction, but the 'Mormon' portions are very small and somewhat unnecessary. It is basically a mystery where a murder occurs because of genealogy or family research that is being done and the mystery and murder are solved because of the genealogy. Crazy, no? It became a little confusing, but if you read it quick and when you aren't tired you will probably fair better. The big issue I had with it is kind of silly. Alex - the main character - goes 'h ...more
Alana Tompkins
Oct 03, 2007 Alana Tompkins rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Rachel
I love (and know) G.G. Vandagriff. The first book I read of her's was "Of Deadly Descent" which was actually the 2nd of her 3 books in this group. "Cankered Roots" was the first, which I finally got ahold of this summer. I read that, then re-read "Of Deadly Descent". I also read "Tangled Roots", the latest in this group. I loved the characters in the books, Alex and Briggie. She is currently writing the 4th of the Alex and Briggie adventures and she's been getting alot of my input on it. I'd rec ...more
Who takes so long to read a 200 page book? Had it not been for the library challenge, I would have thrown this book in the trash ( ok, maybe not, as it is a library book, and I don't want to pay 40 bucks to replace it). I see what folks mean now when they say "I read things I would not have picked up if it wasn't for the challenge!". Next time, I am skipping the challenge and checking out one of my faves. And this book is a series, so I COULD read more.....egads!
Genealogy is my main hobby and reading murder mysteries is my second, so this book combining the two naturally appealed to me. I liked the convoluted genealogical puzzle and the way they went about solving it best. The telling of the tale was a little rough and the characters not completely believable, especially the main character, Alex, but she is likable, so I forgave the rough edges and got the second book in the series. Alex's partner, Brighamina "Briggie" Poulson, and Alex's boyfriend's fa ...more
This is a new Author and genre for me, I wasn't to sure how I would like this book as it's got a lot of geneology to it. I was pleasantly surprised as it was filled with mystery as well, the blurb of the novel peeked my interest and I'm very glad it did as I was thrilled reading it.

Having not read this type of book before I took a little bit for me to get into, but, once I did it took off like a bullet and I could not put it down. I loved GG's style of writing, I really loved how she mixed myst
As our story opens “Crouching in the overgrown shrubs, the stocky, ginger-haired man consulted his watch for the fifth time in the past half hour. Where was she? . . . Then he heard it— the slap of sandals against the brick sidewalk . . . he gripped the butt of the gun in his pocket . . . with glee . . . darting out in the open he fired. The victim looked down and saw the spreading stain darkening her shirt. . . She leaped off the steps, kicked off her sandals and struck the squirt gun from his ...more
I borrowed this in December through the KDP Select lending program. It dealt with two interests of mine, genealogy and murder. As the author notes in "A Letter to Readers" this was her first published book from 1994. She states in the book that it was set in 1992 (Kindle location 4253) However internal evidence suggests that the story was actually happening in 1989-- see below.

Which brings me to the story. The main character is a widowed convert to Mormonism and a professional genealogist. Not o
Alex has been estranged from her parents for years. They weren't even there for her when her husband died in a plane accident.

Since then she's joined the LDS church and become a certified geneologist, and she needs to get information from her parents to complete her geneology.

Her parents are noticable upset by her request. She leaves frustrated. That night her father is murdered. Although she is one of the suspects (and partially because of it), she's determined to find her father's killer and f
I really like the idea of a mystery tied up in someone's family history.

Alex has been estranged from her parents for years. They weren't even there for her when her husband died in a plane accident.

Since then she's joined the LDS church and become a certified geneologist, and she needs to get information from her parents to complete her geneology.

Her parents are noticable upset by her request. She leaves frustrated. That night her father is murdered. Although she is one of the suspects (and par
Probably for the first 25% of this book I was not at all sure that I liked it. The main character seemed to spend too much time angry, for one thing. But then things got more interesting and I found myself really liking it. Genealogy was worked into the plot effectively.
Great family history book. Involving non-family members in the crime made the story confusing, though, and probably wasn't necessary. Might read Poisoned Pedigree by the same author for the setting, but there is too much killing and danger to make the story feel like a real genealogist's life.
Linda Cole
Unusual type of story

Unusual type of story

hard time getting into the story could not figure out what mystery was once I understood it became more interesting
This book is great for mystery lovers and history lovers. To solve the mystery you need to go into the past to learn the truth behind it. The characters are lovable and very real; by the end of the book I felt I was part of the team! The story is fast paced and keeps you guessing and when you get to the end you want more! Lucky that this is just the first in the series (at the moment there are 5 Alex and Briggie mysteries)! I really enjoyed this book and I like that it is a very well written sto ...more
Because I am a genealogy enthusiast, my mysteries naturally feature genealogy sleuths—Alexandra Campbell and Brighamina Poulson. Alex reunites with her parents for the first time in eighteen years, and the result is murder! In order to solve it, she and Briggie have to uncover the secrets in her own family tree, discovering in the process why she was sent away to Paris at age eighteen. A recent convert to the LDS church, she is still grieving over the death of her husband, but is powerf
This story was so jam-packed with action I kept thinking G.G. Vandagriff is a very gifted author. I don't have a clue how she created this story because it was mind boggling. I immediately liked Alex and Daniel. They seem to read each other well, and I hope their relationship will blossom. And, I sort of read into a possible relationship between Daniel's father and Alex's partner Brighamina (I really like that name!). What I really learned from this story is how interesting genealogy could be us ...more
It was a fun book to read.
Jun 06, 2008 Carol added it
A murder mystery with a twist. Alexandra Campbell knows there is a family secret about her grandfather that has torn her family apart. When she presses her father for details, he is found dead. She begins to unravel the family secrets in earnest in a way that only a professional genealogist is equipped to do. Alexandra's troubled life wasn't nearly as distracting to me as the improbability of the whole convoluted plot. Still it's a quick read and engaging.
Mystery solved by genealogists? Alexandra is struggling to find a sense of "family" and pushes her parents to tell her more about her beloved grandfather. Of course, everything isn't quite what it seemed. Lost me partway through and I felt they jumped to too many conclusions didn't care for the ending - felt like it was set up for another book (which I don't like. Tell me a story then stop and tell me another, please!).
Saying I enjoyed this book isn't quite true. But I didn't DISlike it. It was a good story, and that's why I kept reading. But her writing was VERY choppy, and I had to reread many things to understand what she was saying. The storyline also was confusing.
I also wanted to read it so that I can read the next 3 books in the series. I DID like that her LDS tones were not heavy nor tedious; just right on that count.
It was slightly funny reading this book because it's really outdated. I looked at the publication date and it was 1994. The characters were using pay phones and not able to get a hold of each other (life before the cell phone). The story line was alright and it did keep me guessing until the end, but I wasn't completely invested in the story for some reason.
Written by my former bishop's wife. Thought it would be worth it to check it out, since I know the author and I like mysteries.

I liked the book - it was hard to put down in a few places - but there were parts of it that I didn't feel were entirely believable. I tend to be over critical at times, though. My wife read this before I did and really liked it.
Whoever thought that genealogy could make a suspenceful mystery book? As exciting as that sounds, it was hard to follow the story and feverishly looking through microfishe for clues at a library didn't exactly get my blood pumping. It was okay though, especially if you've ever had fun looking through a military index for hours.
If you enjoy mystery, tied in with history, you should enjoy any books written by this author. Plus her books are very clean. I always think that the sign of a good author is someone who can write a book that keeps the reader's attention without a bunch of smut and coarse language--anyone can do that stuff!
Having read two other books in this series, I decided to start at the begining. I think I enjoyed this book the best so far. It was fast-paced and had enough plot twists to keep me up at night. I loved following their methods of searching out the family history. It was satisfying on a lot of levels.
I usually like mysteries, and I love trying to figure it out on my own. But in this one, you just didn't get all the information so you had no clue who the bad guy was until the very end. I think I would've preferred it if there had been more info on the bad guy so I could've figured it out on my own.
Lisa  (Bookworm Lisa)
May 01, 2008 Lisa (Bookworm Lisa) rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 16 and up
I liked this book, it is about Alex Campbell. She has suffered through many trials. She discovers a family secret and sets our to unravel it using her geneology skills. It leads to murder, danger and adventure. It was well written and shows the power of forgiveness and love.
Great cozy mystery if like genealogy--especially "old school" genealogy! Lots of twists and turns throughout. The e-version had some issues with font changes, strange spellings, and bizarre vocab choices, but wasn't enough to make deter me from reading further.
This book was ok. I liked the mystery. I loved the interaction between Briggie and Mr. Grinnell. I think they give this novel a much needed boost in humor. Alex gets on my nerves at times but not enough that I put it down. It was an interesting quick read.
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I realize that I am one of those rare people in the world who gets to live a life full of passion, suspense, angst, fulfillment, humor, and mystery. I am a writer. Everyday when I sit down to my computer, I enter into world of my own making. I am in the head of a panoply of characters ranging from a nineteen year-old Austrian debutante (The Last Waltz) to a raging psychopath (The Arthurian Omen) a ...more
More about G.G. Vandagriff...

Other Books in the Series

Alex and Briggie (5 books)
  • Of Deadly Descent
  • Tangled Roots
  • Poisoned Pedigree
  • The Hidden Branch
The Last Waltz The Arthurian Omen Tangled Roots Poisoned Pedigree The Duke's Undoing

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