Reading journal: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, entry 2

I got so engrossed in the book last night that I didn’t stop until my eyes were stinging from all the reading and it was past one o’clock in the morning. I stopped around page 410, which leaves me the last section of the book, about 120 pages. I hated to stop, as I had got to a very exciting part in the plot, with one protagonist in mortal danger and the other about to head into it. That there should be so much left of the book when the climax appears to be starting tells me that either the climax is going to be drawn-out, there will be a second climax, or the denouement is going to be a long one.

Some thoughts about the plot: I really, really hope there is some real purpose to the horrifying abuse Lisbeth has had to suffer at the hands of her legal guardian. I would hate to think it was just a gratuitous addition to the book or a way to have her supply a small and not very important item to the profiling of the killer. It does emphasise that vulnerability that I mentioned earlier, that a pervert should pick her out as an easy victim (and then find out how wrong he was...). I think maybe something may happen in the chapters I have yet to read that will justify it, or it may even possibly have something to do with the other two books.

What seemed at first a baffling but clear-cut case of a girl’s disappearance has turned out be a lot more sinister, and the way Mikael discovered the clues was interesting. I don’t think I will be revealing to much by saying that at this point it has turned into an investigation of a grisly series of murders that the missing girl had found some clues about, so she may not have disappeared because of her strong position within her family, but rather because she knew that one (or more) of her relatives was a serial killer.

One of the killers – because there must be more than one – has been revealed, and was one of my two strongest candidates. At this point it seems obvious who the other will turn out to be, but I suspect there might be a twist involved. I rather suspect that there may be more dark deeds afoot than just the murders, or maybe more people are involved.

I am intrigued by the constant references to the reason why Mikael agreed to investigate the case of the disappearing girl: his conviction for slander against a rich and powerful business tycoon. Although the judgement and his prison term are discussed, it is also hinted at that he could have gotten himself out of it because of something he knew but didn’t reveal, possibly to protect a source, but I am inclined to think that there was more to it than that. Also, what does his employer have on the tycoon? His promise to help Mikael revenge himself indicates that he knows something important, but so far there has been no obvious clue at all as to what it could be.

I have already mentioned the parallel between Mikael and Astrid Lindgren’s Kalle Blomkvist, but what I didn’t mention was Lisbeth Salander’s connection with Pippi Longstocking, to whom her employer likens her (but only in his thoughts). Dorte has written an interesting analysis of Blomkvist and Salander as Pippi and Kalle, so I will not go into that (in any case, I am far more familiar with Pippi than Kalle, as the Kalle books weren’t translated into Icelandic until I was a teenager).

Oh, and someone thinks Val McDermid is a man. I’m inclined to think it’s the Icelandic translator. I somehow doubt that a mystery fan like Mikael Blomkvist or a mystery writer like Larsson would make that mistake. Anyway, in the original Swedish the sentence about McDermid probably doesn’t indicate her gender at all.

The next entry will probably be the review, as I plan to finish the book as soon as I get home from work today (I'm writing this in my lunch hour).


maxine said…
Glad you are enjoying it! There is a reason for the abuse, I won't write more now. Looking forward to your review. Love that Val McDermid story!!

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