Saturday, February 21, 2009

The girl with the dragon tattoo

I had heard on the grapevine that The girl with the dragon tattoo written by Stieg Larsson was a must read book and the grapevine was correct.

Mikael Blomkvist, journalist and part owner of the magazine, Millennium, was found guilty of writing a libellous article about industrialist and financier, Hans-Erik Wennerstrom, resulting in a large fine and a three month gaol term. In order to save the magazine he decided to (temporarily) resign and move to the country for a period.

Lisbeth Salander, aged in her mid twenties but looking younger, worked part time for the firm Milton Security as an investigator. Although not always the most reliable of workers as far as adhering to office principles, her reports were always thorough and frequently contained information that normally would not be available to researchers.

Henrik Vanger was 82 and former CEO of the successful Vanger Company which employed many people in Sweeden. Each birthday Henrik received a flower in a frame. The first flower had arrived a year after the disappearance and possible murder of his niece, Harriet, thirty-six years previously. Her disappearance was still a mystery and had become an obsession of her uncle.

Henrik, via his lawyer, commissioned Lisbeth to prepare a report on Mikael Blomvist and then asked to start investigating Wennerstrom. He then asked Mikael to spend a year writing a history of the Vanger family as a cover for investigating Harriet's disappearance. As well as a large salary Henrik promised to provide information about Wennestrom that would help prove that he was a criminal.

Mikael reluctantly accepts the project but soon becomes immersed in the intricacies of the Vagner family and also uncovers leads in the investigation of Harriet's disappearance missed in the initial investigation. As the investigation proceeds he needs a research assistant and Lisbeth is employed to assist him.

The book is more than an excellent crime mystery but also describes the attempts to keep the magazine afloat, questions the ethics of withholding the publication of material relating to a crime which would harm others if made public, and allows the reader to explore the lives of the characters, particularly Lisbeth - the girl with the dragon tattoo.

The girl with the dragon tattoo is the first book in the Millennium Trilogy. I look forward to reading the next instalment.

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