With a cinema release impending, I figured it was time to buy into this amazingly popular series by Swedish journalist Stieg Larsson.
Published posthumously, Larsson was never to know what a success the three novels of the Millenium Trilogy.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (strangely named, I think I prefer the original Swedish title of Men Who Hate Women – much more to the point!) is a very readable thriller touching on international economics, serial murder and misogyny.
We have two main characters, and the narrative is split between the two, and eventually they are brought together by the same case. Firstly we have Mikael Blomkvist, a disgraced journalist who takes up the challenge of solving the unsolvable – a missing persons case from the 60s. Mikael moves to a remote Swedish village to investigate the infamous Vanger family, as financially successful in the business world as they are disturbed emotionally. The matriarch Henrik, in his eighties, has never gotten over the supposed murder of his niece Harriet. So Blomkvist is challenged to make headway on the long dead case, and Vanger will help Blomkvist in return with a few issues of his own…
Lisbeth Salander is the eponymous Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – a very intriguing character who no doubt carries the whole series, even though I would argue she has a secondary role in this part. A freelance private investigator in an unlikely package.. five feet tall, covered in tattoos with black dyed hair and makeup…. we get hints of a very traumatic childhood and she is certainly no stranger to violent crime against women. Lisbeth just refuses to be a victim. (See how I refer to her as Lisbeth already, rather than Salander? Interesting!).
Lisbeth has a number of amazing skills – a deft computer hacker with a photographic memory is a pretty interesting ally to have on any investigation. She assists Blomkvist on the Vanger case and more.
I get the distinct impression that this novel is just the introduction to Salander and I – like many others – will be interested to see just what else she is capable of in the other books.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will probably not change your world, but you might just be interested enough to buy into the next book of the series…