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Stieg Larsson – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

29 December 2011 No Comment
Stieg Larsson - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Stieg Larsson - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (original title in Swedish: Män som hatar kvinnor – “Men Who Hate Women”) is an award-winning crime novel by Swedish author and journalist Stieg Larsson. It is the first book in the trilogy known as the “Millennium series”.

At his death in November 2004, Larsson left the three unpublished novels that make up the trilogy. They became posthumous best-sellers in several European countries as well as in the United States.


Larsson witnessed the gang rape of a young girl when he was 15. He never forgave himself for failing to help the girl, whose name was Lisbeth – like the young main character of his books, herself a rape victim, which inspired the theme of sexual violence against women in his books.


Larsson writes within the novel, in Chapter 12, “It’s actually a fascinating case. What I believe is known as a locked room mystery, on an island. And nothing in the investigation seems to follow normal logic. Every question remains unanswered, every clue leads to a dead end.”

He supplies a family tree explaining the relationships of five generations of the Vanger family.

With the exception of Hedestad, the novel takes place in real Swedish towns. The Millennium magazine featured in the books has characteristics similar to that of Larsson’s magazine, Expo, which also had financial difficulties.

Plot summary

December 2002.  Mikael Blomkvist, publisher of the Swedish political magazine Millennium, loses a libel case involving allegations about billionaire industrialist Hans-Erik Wennerström.  He is sentenced to three months in prison, and ordered to pay hefty damages and costs. Soon afterwards, he is invited to meet Henrik Vanger, the retired CEO of the Vanger Corporation, unaware that he had commissioned an investigation into Blomkvist’s personal and professional history. This was carried out by Lisbeth Salander, a surveillance agent with Milton Security.

Blomkvist is promised considerable financial reward and solid evidence against Wennerström, in exchange for writing the Vanger family history. Vanger believes that his niece, Harriet, was murdered by a member of the family 36 years earlier. Blomkvist moves to the Vanger estate and begins his research into the history of the Vanger family and Harriet’s disappearance.

Salander, who is considered asocial, was ruled legally incompetent as a child, and is under the care of a legal guardian, Holger Palmgren.  He has a stroke.  Her new guardian, Nils Bjurman, is a sadist.  He uses his position to sexually abuse her in return for access to her own money.  After he rapes her, Salander takes her revenge, torturing him and threatening to ruin him unless he gives her full control of her life.

Blomkvist discovers Salander has hacked into his computer, and persuades her to assist him with researching Harriet’s disappearance.  They begin to suspect that they are on the trail of a serial killer. Although they have sexual intercourse, Salander keeps Blomkvist at a distance emotionally, refusing to give herself fully.

Blomkvist discovers that the serial killer is Martin Vanger, Harriet’s brother, who takes Blomkvist prisoner and is about to kill him. Martin tells Blomkvist that his father initiated him when he was a teenager. He admits to murdering dozens of women, but denies killing his sister. Salander arrives just in time to save him. Trying to escape, Martin drives his car head-on into a truck on the wrong side of the road and is burnt to death.

Salander’s hacker acquaintance, Plague, sets up a phone tap on Harriet’s cousin Anita Vanger’s home in London. This proves that Harriet is alive, and located in Australia. Blomkvist flies over alone to find Harriet, because Salander’s mother has just died.  Harriet tells Blomkvist that her father, and then her brother, had repeatedly raped her.  Her father had not drowned by accident: she had killed him.  Martin had witnessed the murder.  Anita had helped her to leave Sweden secretly and to go into hiding.  Blomkvist persuades her to return to Sweden, where she reunites with her uncle, who makes plans for her to take the position of CEO of the Vanger Corporation.  Blomkvist accompanies Salander at the funeral.

Blomkvist is furious when he learns that the evidence against Wennerström that Vanger promised him is useless.  However Salander has already hacked Wennerström’s computer and has discovered that his crimes go far beyond what Blomkvist documented. Using her evidence, Blomkvist prints an exposé and book which ruins Wennerström and catapults Millennium to national prominence. Salander, using her phenomenal skill with computer hacking, succeeds in stealing more than a quarter of a billion dollars from Wennerström’s secret bank account.  Blomkvist and Salander spend Christmas together in his holiday retreat and their sexual relationship continues.  At the end of the year, she goes to Blomkvist’s home with her Christmas present for him, but sees him with his long time lover Erika Berger and flees.  She had intended declaring her love for him.

As a post script, Salander continues to monitor Wennerström and after six months, anonymously informs a lawyer in Miami of his whereabouts. He is found in Marbella, dead, shot three times in the head. [Source]

Download ebook: Stieg Larsson – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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