” The accusations against Salander are based on a single direct piece of evidence—her fingerprints on the murder weapon. Which, I remind you, is proof that she handled the weapon but no proof that she fired it at the murder victims. ” [29:642]
Dag Svensson is a freelance journalist who leaves very few loose ends in his stories, which are, unlike the usual pretentious social reporting, rid of heavy-handed rhetoric. He and his girlfriend Mia Johansson, a gender studies scholar, have been collaborating on a piece about sex trade: How prostitutes, many of whom underage, are lured to Sweden to escape social misery at home in Eastern Europe. Just before the explosive exposé is published in Millennium, they are brutally murdered in their apartment.
Maybe it’s not the book itself. Maybe they had done too much snooping and managed to…I don’t know…maybe someone felt threatened. And hired a hit man . . . This book is about the exploiters, the users. It names police officers, politicians, journalists . . . [14:303]
Indeed, the manuscript is a sure-fire motive for the murder, because the journalist’s planned exposure of prostitute clients would have done more than merely hurt a number of men. Some of the prominent players, ironically, several of whom had handed down verdicts of sex crimes, assisted in the investigation, and helped enforce law protecting minors, should be annihilated. The fingerprints on the murder weapon, however, belong to Lisbeth Salander, the troubled hacker genius who had saved Mikael Blomkvist’s life in their Vanger investigation. She is sighted at the victims’ apartment before the murder. What is her connection to them?
Salander never did anything against her will or without thinking through the consequences. [16:351]
When Nils Bjurman, Salander’s guardian, is found dead in his apartment, Lisbeth is wanted for triple murder. While dodging the police and the unknown enemies, she trepasses into various computer network to afloat. Blomkvist, who refuses to accept police’s allegation that Lisbeth has committed homicides, launches his own investigation by checking Svensson’s list of exploiters. A series of far-fetched twists entails.
The problem was that even if a john who risked being exposed had decided to murder Svensson, there was, as yet, no prospect of such a link to Nils Bjurman. He did not feature in Svensson’s material . . . [23:507]
The eclectic, flawed underdog becomes prominent in this fast-pace novel with stunning twists. Bits of her dark past are inevitably revealed as investigation digs deeper into the murders. While reading The Girl Who Played with Fire, I cannot help thinking Larsson has found his stance in Mikael Blomkvist, a man with many crusades and causes, who wants to pinpoint flaws in society. He is always prepared to battle with public figures to ensure justice. Blomkvist is the conscience. His goal is to let morality steer his magazine. Issues that saturate this novel include sex trade, media ethic, police corruption, and authority abuse. It leaves me in gasp when the truth of the matter that seems to be within reach quickly tips over to another direction that lacks evident support. The probe on sex trade just happens to touch the nerves of those who swear to defend national top secret. The novel is a perfect illustration of how serendipity can go very wrong and dangerous. The intrigue of this one is more satisfying and addictive than the first.
724 pp. Mass Paperback. [Read/Skim/Toss] [Buy/Borrow]