George V. Reilly

Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Title: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Author: Stieg Larsson
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Vintage Crime
Copyright: 2005
Pages: 590
Keywords: mystery
Reading period: 8–9 August, 2009

After crusading financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist is convicted of libel, he re­luc­tant­ly agrees to in­ves­ti­gate the 40-year-old dis­ap­pear­ance of the teenaged Harriet Vanger for her great-uncle Henrik, a rich in­dus­tri­al­ist. He is aided by the antisocial hacker Lisabeth Salander, the eponymous tattooed girl.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was published shortly before Larsson’s untimely death, and later became an in­ter­na­tion­al bestseller. It’s a classic locked-room mys­tery—Har­ri­et dis­ap­peared from a sealed-off island full of the extended, ugly Vanger clan. It’s an indictment of the Nazism buried not so deeply in Sweden’s past, of sexual violence and misogyny, and of the ethical failings and complicity of financial jour­nal­ists. It’s a dark thriller where Blomkvist and Sanger are hunted by a sadistic killer. It’s a Lud­lumesque tech­nothriller where Sanger “stings” a rich crook. It’s a character study of a disturbed and brilliant young woman.

It’s a bit too much really: there are too many things going on. But it is quite en­ter­tain­ing.

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