The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson is an amazing mystery novel. A journalist, Michael Bloomkvist, is asked to investigate the disappearance, and probable murder, of 16 year old Harriet Vanger. This event happened over 40 years ago. Harriet’s uncle, the wealthy industrialist Henrik Vanger, is haunted by his niece’s absence. Every year on Henrik’s birthday, he receives a dried white flower in an inexpensive frame. Is this sent to him by Harriet’s murderer, or by Harriet herself?
And why choose Bloomkvist for this job? He is scheduled to serve a prison term of three months due to a recent conviction for libel. He is both co-publisher and writer for a financial magazine, Millennium. He wrote an expose of a prominent financier, Hans-Erik Wennerstrom. Wennerstrom sued Bloomkvist, and the court ruled in favor of Wennerstrom. So now Wennerstrom is out to destroy both Bloomkvist and Millennium.
Before hiring Bloomkvist, Vanger has him investigated by a private security firm. The investigator is a young woman named Lisbeth Salander. She is a talented, resourceful, and relentless hacker, who is able to dig up facts that no one else can. She has a troubled background and, yes, she is the girl with the dragon tattoo.
This book is very long. It takes nearly one hundred pages before Vanger actually hires Bloomkvist. And the mystery of Harriet is solved one hundred pages before the end of the book. But have patience. There are so many threads to this story it takes all that ink to ravel and unravel them.
It is truly a fascinating mystery. There are lots of red herrings (and other kinds of herrings as well since the Swedes eat herring at every meal!) and I really doubt anyone would be able to figure the mystery out totally on their own. The only quibble I have with this book is that, at times, the translation seems a bit stilted and unnatural. This is a minor detail, and it doesn’t affect the story in anyway. This is a must-read book.
Published in hardcover-Random House-2008