Posts Tagged Sweden

Stieg Larsson 2 & 3: The Girl Who Played With Fire & The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest

I’m doing a combination review of Stieg Larsson’s second and third novels, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, for one simple reason — the second book was so good, I immediately started reading the third. And speaking of combinations, things quickly turn from a mystery novel into a mystery/espionage novel, which just happen to be my favorite two genres. While not much can be said without giving away the many twists and turns of the plot, Mikael Blomkvist and Lizbeth Salander both use their investigative and hacking skills, respectively, to learn the truth about a sex trafficking operation and the involvement of the Swedish Security Service (S├Ąpo), a group similar to the CIA. There is a police investigation and many surveillance and counter-surveillance tactics to keep things moving until the end of this spectacular trilogy, which is the sad part since Larsson’s death means there won’t be a fourth book.

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Stieg Larsson 1: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Several years ago, I saw a couple of subtitled movies featuring Swedish detective Martin Beck. While the culture was different — as was the language — at the end of the day, a mystery is still a mystery. And I got a kick out of those Swedish mystery flicks. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson is another enjoyable Swedish mystery, this time a novel that has been translated into English. Well, the Queen’s English that is. Harbour and centre are easy words to decipher, as is tyres, but what about gaol? That word is used fairly often in the book as the main character, journalist Mikael Blomqvist, is forced to spend some time behind bars after losing a libel trial to a rich Swedish industrialist. Meanwhile another rich Swedish industrialist, this one retired, hires Blomqvist to look into a family mystery. Blomqvist moves from very cold Stockholm to even colder Hedeby, a fictitious island town several hours to the north, to begin his investigation. Blomqvist is soon joined by the girl with the dragon tattoo, Lisbeth Salander, a young woman who looks like a punk rocker, but has a photographic memory and possesses rather unique investigative skills. Together, the two set out to unravel a 40-year-old mystery and also resolve the issues behind the libel charge. As an ex-journalist, I enjoyed the ethics discussion in the book. As a mystery fan, I enjoyed the meticulous whodunit, which included references to several Swedish mysteries — which went over my head — but also American mystery writers Sue Grafton and Sara Paretsky, who I enjoy reading. The book is long and the book is detailed, and if you can get through it, the ending is satisfying. Sadly, Larsson died in 2004 before finishing the fourth book in what he planned to be a series of 10. Only three books were published — all posthumously — and I look forward to reading the other two.

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