The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Knopf, Sep 2008, $24.95
In Sweden financier industrialist Hans-Erik Wennerstrom successfully sues Millennium magazine financial journalist Carl Mikael Blomkvist for libel and defamation of character. Mikael cannot believe he lost as he thought his proof was solid that Wennerstrom had used state funds intended for investments in Poland in an arms deal. The reporter refuses to appeal; he will serve his ninety days in gaol and pay the damages and court fees. He has no idea how the Minos Affair scandal as the media dubbed it turned so wrong.
Milton Security’s top researcher tattooed Lisbeth Salander looks into the trust factor of Blomkvist for a client. She speculates that he was set up by someone in the Wennerstrom fiasco, but is honest to a fault. In Hedestad eighty something industrialist Henrik Vanger hires Blomkvist to learn what happened to his beloved great-niece Harriet who vanished decades ago. Henrik explains that when Harriet was twelve she baby-sat three year old Mikael, who did not remember that. The elderly man wants Mikael to uncover the truth of who killed the then sixteen year old Harriet in 1966; as she instead of her brother would have run Vanger Enterprises as she was the talented intelligent one of her generation. He agrees but the family does not truly cooperate so he gets nowhere until Lisbeth joins his investigation, which increasingly finds powerful men hating women of substance.
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is a superb Swedish thriller that grips the audience on two fronts. First is the libel case in which author Stieg Larsson vividly describes the government-industrial complex ripping off taxpayers to set up fake business ventures; the second is the investigation into the Vanger family. Readers will be fascinated with the business scandal, but enjoy the whodunit even more as that is fast-paced and exciting. The first Millennium Trilogy tale is a strong investigative thriller, a great homage to the talented author who past away a few years ago.