The latest detective/crime novel to come out of Sweden has, unexpectedly, taken the world by storm. The first in the ‘Millennium Trilogy’, ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’, is a fast-paced and exciting thriller of a novel that has the reader on the edge of their seat right from the prologue. Accompanied by a fictional family tree for the reader to reference, the novel explores the lives of three characters, Hanrik Vanger, Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander. All three are interlinked in investigating the forty-year-old police investigation into the disappearance of Harriet Vanger, niece of Henrik.
The investigation focussed around one particular day in the life of the family and the reader is able to guess and formulate ideas about the disappearance along with the hired investigator, Blomkvist. Though, at first, having been given all the details of the case, one might disregard the novel as a long-winded retelling of the story, the pace begins to quicken as more evidence slowly emerges and Blomkvist is forced to address the evidence from different perspectives in order to uncover what really happened. The most exciting and perhaps, from time to time, annoying thing about the book is that it is certain that a member of the Vanger family is responsible for Harriet’s disappearance, yet it is the job of the reader to guess which are red herrings, and the job of Blomkvist to finally find out the truth.
Sadly, the author, Larsson, handed in the manuscripts for the trilogy to a publishing house and then died soon after. He never got to see the success and popularity that his writing has achieved. Already one film has been made in its native language and Hollywood has bought the rights to make a movie on a much larger scale. Nevertheless, the novel is not always an easy read. Larsson takes a feminist stance throughout his writing and there is a lot of sexual violence and gruesome description which one has to wade through in order to find out what happened to Harriet. However, perhaps this is necessary in confronting modern prejudices to women and their status in society.