The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Steig Larsson, born in 1954, was a journalist. He was one of the world’s leading experts on anti-democratic, right-wing extremist and Nazi organizations. He died suddenly and unexpectedly in November 2004, soon after delivering the manuscripts for three crime novels to his Swedish publisher. The first of those manuscripts was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Industrialist Henrik Vanger has lived for forty years in the belief that someone in his family murdered his niece, Harriet.
Journalist Mikael Blomkvist agrees to go under cover to discover the identity of the culprit. But someone else will go to any lengths to hide the truth.
Lisbeth Salander, the girl with the dragon tattoo and a security expert, is to assist in Blomkvist’s investigation.
This is a strange novel, 538 pages written at break-neck speed and loaded with tension and suspense. I was unable to put it down, despite the niggling and recurring feeling that what I was reading really needed a good editor.
On the one hand it is the usual crime novel with a client and an investigator, a set of enigmatic clues and a romp through to a conclusion.
But the inclusion of the girl with the dragon tattoo complicates it enormously. Lisbeth Salander is no ordinary heroine, she is a comic-book super-hero, delinquent and dangerous, a genius computer hacker who tolerates no restrictions imposed by individuals, society or the law. Salander is a waif with a history of abuse, children’s homes, foster families and crime. She has been in and out of care all her life and as an adult is supervised by a sadistic lawyer and regarded by the state as legally incompetent.
Violent herself, and presenting in the image of a fifteen-year-old Goth, she is capable of intellectual and physical transformations which allow her to be anyone and go anywhere. And with the aid of little more than a laptop computer she seems able to unearth the complete biography of anyone she chooses to research.
I didn’t believe in her for a moment. Salander is clearly based on Pippy Longstocking, while the journalist is sourced from Kalle Blomkvist, another character of Astrid Lindgren.
I still couldn’t put the book down. And the sequel will be kept back for a long train journey.