The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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“The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”

Swedish journalist’s posthumously published manuscripts refreshes mystery novel genre

Although he died of a heart attack in 2004, Swedish author Stieg Larsson left three finished manuscripts behind to form the Millennium Trilogy: “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” “The Girl Who Played With Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest.” Larsson’s detective novels serve as a badly needed breath of fresh air for their clichéd genre.

The first in the series, “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” introduces readers to Mikael Blomkvist, a respected financial journalist and editor of the Stockholm magazine, “Millennium.” However, Blomkvist’s professional reputation takes a hit when the subject of one of his not so flattering exposés, shady businessman Hans-Erik Wennerström, falsely wins a libel case against the journalist.

Just when it looks as if his reputation has suffered damages beyond repair, Blomskvist receives an unexpected offer to re-establish his credibility. Henrik Vanger, CEO of one of Sweden’s oldest corporate dynasties and head of his disturbingly dysfunctional family, reaches out to Blomskvist.

Vanger promises both money and hard facts to verify Blomskvist’s integrity against Wennerström if he moves to the Vanger family’s secluded island for a year under the guise of recording their family history. However, Blomkvist’s real assignment is to investigate the disappearance of Henrik Vanger’s great niece Harriet, four decades earlier.

Since Harriet vanished on the island at a time when it was completely impenetrable from the mainland, Vanger is convinced a member of his unhinged family is responsible for her murder. Larsson’s brilliant twist on the classic “locked-room” mystery scenario is guaranteed to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

However, the novel’s real protagonist is Sweden’s (and probably the world’s) finest hacker, Lisbeth Salander. Despite extreme antisocial problems due to life-long victimization by authority figures, Lisbeth is inarguably a genius. Thanks to her speed, boxing training and unmatched preparation, this diminutive pierced and tattooed bisexual punk proves unbeatable even in physical confrontations by much larger opponents. However, Salander carries a hammer in her purse just in case, which serves her well when she teams up with Blomskvist to contribute her unchallenged research prowess to the Vanger case.

Blomskvist and Salander prove to be a dynamic team. Their indomitable determination and capability allow them to discover new evidence in a case that has been heavily scrutinized for forty years. As Blomskvist and Salander uncover a series of truths, Larsson renews another classic mystery plot maneuver: The hunters become the hunted.

Larsson’s masterful ability to merge classic suspense techniques with an innovative technological investigation to solve a forty-year-old mystery makes “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” a guaranteed page-turner. His revolutionary presentation of the Internet as an open book revitalizes the mystery genre and allows for a completely new approach to crime solving.

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