Why does Lisbeth get rid of all evidence?

Maybe you guys can shed some light on this, because I’ve re-read the last several chapters a few times, but cannot figure this out.

So Lisbeth burns the A4 binders in Martin’s basement – the binders full of the women’s passport photos, his documentation on them, names, identities, how they suffered, etc. And then she drops his laptop into the lake.

Then, when she and Blomkvist are discussing the events with Frode, she is very angry that Frode and Vanger don’t want Martin and Gottfried’s murders and incestuous activities exposed, and she eventually agrees on the condition that Frode identify all the women Martin has murdered, contact their families, and give them retribution, as well as donate 2 million kroner to a center for women annually, and Frode agrees.

Wouldn’t she have made this a lot easier if she had kept all that documentation, especially the A4 binders with all those women’s photos, passports, and info? I can see that maybe she thought his laptop might have information on her that she didn’t want to get out. But the binders are all about the women.

Is this a mistake by Larsson? A hole in the story? Because I have read the whole trilogy now and this never comes up later. I thought she might use all the photos she took of Martin’s basement later, but the Vangers have basically disappeared from the last two books (other than Micke and Harriet’s hook-ups).

Posted by arwen22 in Seattle, WA , 1 Mars 2011

By Editor

15 thoughts on “Why does Lisbeth get rid of all evidence?”
  1. I was confused by that to begin with as well… however then I realized that had that evidence come out right then, the police would have become involved and found out that she had saved Blomqvist and was working on this story with them. She couldn’t allow her anonymity to be broken because how she would be smeared by the bad guys who were doing everything they could to frame her. None of the traffickers (Zala, et al) knew that she was working to solve this kind of abuse of women… because she had a long-tem plan to take Zala down and didn’t want to be found out. In the meantime… she left the videos so that the authorities could find the proof of what Martin was up to… and nobody had to know anything that she was there. Another thing… she was thinking fast and under great strain… and her first motive was ALWAYS to hide everything. Don’t let anybody know anything until she was ready to spring the trap. She was thinking as clearly as she could at the time… her first reference is to take the law into her own hands… and so she automatically did that as a first course of action. Again… I thought it was wierd to begin with… and then as it unfolded it all started making sense. Martin was dead. The family knew everything. The best thing was not to have Blomkvist and then her spread all over the newspapers.

    Posted by Udana Power in Los Angeles, CA ,

  2. Udana, that actually makes a lot of sense. The only thing that still bugs me then is that these women will never truly get any justice and that’s a character flaw that doesn’t fit well with the rest of Stieg’s presentation of Lisbeth.

    Frode, while horrified by the videos, has no real motivation or capacity to identify the women, if they can even be identified from just videotapes. Despite the Vanger family wealth, they can’t bring in outsiders due to the sensitive nature of Martin’s crimes. Is one old man going to sit there day after day watching these brutal videos, trying in vain to figure out who each of these women are? How will he gain access to police, Säpo, Interpol or government databases? What if the women have never been reported missing?

    Even if Lisbeth didn’t want physical evidence tying her and Blomkvist to Martin’s basement, her photographic memory would allow her to keep a record of the name of each woman. How hard would it have been to type up a list of names and mail them anonymously to Frode? I’m all for Lisbeth stealing Wennerstrom’s money, but surely that money wasn’t more important than 100 dead women in Lisbeth’s mind?

    Sorry to go on about this, but for Lisbeth to let all those women be forgotten and erased, for their lives to be lost in vain, just to serve her need to stay hidden, it really just rubs me the wrong way. I appreciate Stieg’s dedication to shedding light on violence against women, but sometimes I think his male perspective made it easier for him to gloss over or ignore little things like this that would be a huge disservice to women who are victims of male violence.

    Posted by a22 in seattle ,

  3. a22, I agree with your point. It seemed like it was simply a way to keep the series going. Frankly, I lost respect for the Salander and Blomkvist character’s. I kept reading to see if it could all be explained, but frankly if both characters died off I wouldn’t mind

    Posted by Jay in New Brunswick, Canada ,

  4. I could see copying the hard drive database to DVD/CDs and deleting any references to Mikael & Lisbeth and then disposing of the computer, but would copy the A4 binders, then give the original binders and DVD/CDs to attorney Frode. Wear gloves during the whole process if finger prints are an issue.

    Posted by Tom in Binghamton ,

  5. also…

    When Frode 1st hears from Lisbeth about the murders he wants to conact the police and Lisbeth tells him, he does not have to decide today, she basically convinces him its a bad idea (pg 669).

    Then..at the end when she meets with Frode again, she is upset they did not contact the police?

    This is driving me crazy. I feel like I am missing something.

    Posted by Mooks in Oakville ,

  6. She dumped the evidence because the Vengar name was to redeem Millennium. She also didn’t want his death to appear anything other than an accident/suicide and if the evidence had been discovered while they (Security researcher; PI and Investigative Reporter) were in town it would have (rightly) seemed they were involved and distracted from redeeming Blomkist’s career…it would have been an odd sideshow. She saved the videos so the families could be put at peace. She was a person of focus: how she would leave without a goodbye when she got her question answered; how she would destroy records when her brain had “recorded/photographed” them. She also destroyed all evidence of having researched people so she could not be suspected in their demise…at her or another’s hand…such as the sadistic attorney. Having such evidence and being his ward would have been compromising, regardless of how who had bumped him off. She isn’t sentimental, doesn’t need to re-read things, has nobody to share them with, prefers current computer data (unless it is hard, convictable evidence) and thus destroys what isn’t needed or doesn’t serve the main goal.

    Posted by Patricia in Tracy, California ,

  7. thank you, Patricia! I think you have resolved this thorny issue.

    Posted by Chris in Queensland, Australia ,

  8. I just finished the book today and this is the only thing that is bugging me. Even after reading through all the other comments, it still does not make sense why she destroyed the laptop but not the videos. There was absolutely nothing to be gained by destroying the laptop, unless she was trying to protect the memories of the women by getting rid of the horrific details of their deaths, but then why keep the videos. And if Lisbeth was worried that the laptop contained info on her, then why not just remove any trace of her existence from the laptop, seeing how see is one of the best hackers in Sweden and all. Her choice of destroying everything but the videos almost suggests that she may have wanted to force Frode, or someone, to sit and watch every minute of Martin’s crimes. Her motives for which I am uncertain, but that is the only logical explanation that i can come up with.

    Posted by Jason in Los Angeles ,

  9. I agree with Jason 100%- it makes no sense that she would destroy the evidence of who these women were. If she had left the binders with the videos – it would have in no way connected her with Martin or the case. Destroying the binders and computer is something you would do if you wanted to protect the killer – not the victims – which makes even less sense.

    Posted by Patricia in North Carolina ,

  10. I found this very odd as well. What was her motivation for destroying this evidence? I realize that she didn’t want the police called in, but her destruction of the computer and diaries wouldn’t prevent that from happening.

    Posted by Michelle W. in Philadelphia, PA USA ,

  11. Central theme across all the novels is about offenses against women especially by civil authorities.

    By eliminating the evidence Salanger was able to define what she wanted in the way of justice for the women and their families. Had the evidence remained intact then the courts and legal system would never have secured retribution or Vanger funding of the center.

    Her distrust of all authorities and relationships is why Salanger’s pursuers are always 180deg out from what she does or goes … and why we often wonder initially why she does something which is so contrary to how we would have.

    I think!

    Posted by Don B in Little Rock, AR ,

  12. she was tired of running and did not want any politics to hinder any more investigations.

    Posted by brian v in portage mi ,

  13. the thing is, i think Lisbeth just wanted to get rid of the Martin. As long as he is dead, there might be no need for keeping the memories of such a disgusting life he had. he is dead and that’s all, he wouldnt cause any more harm. thats what i think… i mean, Lisbeth likes to do things by herself and control the chaos by herself… so…

    Posted by Viktor in Anapolis, Brazil ,

  14. This didn’t make any sense to me either. Initially I thought it might be because she didn’t want the women to be victims any further – their photos and intimate details gone over by the authorities and newspapers. But although she destroys the binders and drops the laptop in the water, she does not destroy the videos – she asks Frode later to identify the women from them so that their families can receive compensation. I find this really baffling – it spoiled my enjoyment of the book. If anyone has a good explanation, I would love to hear it.

    Posted by Helen P in Leeds ,

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