In the Christmas of 2002, Mikael Blomkvist, journalist and part-owner of the political Swedish magazine millennium, finds himself facing jail time and heavy damage costs after losing a libel case against the billionaire Henrik Wennerstrom. With the defeat playing on his mind he is grateful for the distraction Henrik Vanger provides him when he is summoned out to Hedestad to take on a case proving quite personal to the retired industrialist. With the promise of a significant financial reward and the evidence he so desperately seeks to destroy Wennerstrom Blomkvist begins work writing the Vanger family history, a history that spans five generations. Henrik reveals he has ulterior motives for Blomkvist’s stay in Hedestad and asks him to discreetly research and resolve the case of his missing great-niece Harriet. Believing her to be murdered almost four decades earlier Henrik has spent the intervening years obsessively and unsuccessfully seeking a resolution to the mystery. With the help of a troubled, young, freelance surveillance agent and researcher, Blomkvist finds himself on the trail of a serial killer. Lisabeth Salander, the same researcher that helped Henrik find Blomkvist suitable for the murder enquiry, has been subject to a rough upbringing and now legally in the care of an assigned guardian suffers further abuse. Victim of sexual and verbal abuse Lisabeth seeks justice and films her guardian abusing both his position and her. As the webs of lies are unearthed and the evidence stacking the pair find themselves in danger , not sure of who they can trust.
Larsson does well to conjure some important and challenging ideas about contemporary Swedish society, as well as questioning the responsibility of criminals for their crimes. Is society and upbringing held accountable too? A great first novel from an even better trilogy, it is not surprising therefore that it has been adapted twice into films and interpreted nationally. It is only a shame that the genius behind theses novels is not around to see his work recognised.
Katy Chidwick i Bath
Submitted: 21 Mars 2012