The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is the first novel in the Millenium Trilogy written by Stieg Larsson, published after his death in 2004.  Larsson was a Swedish journalist, photographer and political activist.  His fiction writing was mostly a hobby done after he got home from work in the evenings.  It appears that originally Larsson intended for the series to contain ten books and along with the three completed manuscripts found, there was also an unfinished fourth manuscript as well as synopses for the fifth and sixth books.  The books were immediate successes in Sweden and after the first was translated, he was posthumously named International Author of the Year in 2008.

I don’t read a lot of murder mysteries but this one was recommended to me and I really enjoyed it.  It took a day or two to get into it, but after the first couple chapters I was hooked and couldn’t put it down.  The whodunnit is essentially a “closed room” murder mystery, meaning that all the people who may have participated in the crime were contained within an area resulting in a definite list of suspects.  In the book the murder took place on an island while the only bridge to and from the island was closed off because of a traffic accident.  The aging patriarch of the wealthy Vanger family that inhabits the island becomes obsessed with the disappearance of his teenage cousin.  He is convinced she was murdered by someone on the island, possibly a family member, on that day in 1966 and that the murderer has been tormenting him for the past 35 years by sending him a pressed, framed flower every year on his birthday.  Vanger hires a journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, to help him try to put the pieces together.  But Blomkvist has his own problems.  He has recently been convicted of libel and is facing public humiliation and a jail sentence.  Lisbeth Salander, a reclusive punk computer hacker prodigy with a personal vendetta also finds her way onto the case and together they uncover secrets and corruption decades old.

The novel is exceptionally good because the clues and details are meticulously arranged so that the reader can theorize along with the investigators.  The suspects are all complex characters who have been intricately developed and woven into the story.  The solution to the puzzle is neither glaringly obvious nor too far-fetched.  It was extremely well-written and I’m looking forward to reading the other two books in the trilogy.  The second book, The Girl Who Played With Fire is currently available and the third book, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest has been translated into English and is due to be released in the U.S. in May.  Kudos to the translator, Reg Keeland, too.  Other than the tongue-twister names of Swedish towns and streets the translation was really smooth.

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Published in: on April 25, 2010 at 6:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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