by Steve Lancaster 4/16/17
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest by Stieg Larsson • You may be familiar with the 2011 movie starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara. The movie was adequate but not engrossing. There is a much better and much more interesting series available on Netflix. This is the original Swedish series starring Michael Nyquist and Noomi Rapace. This may be the best thing to come out of Sweden since IKEA. However, be forewarned the books are about 500 pages each and the series is six installments, each about 90 min and in Swedish with subtitles. By the time, you have watched all six installments you understand more Swedish than you ever thought you could.
Lisbeth Salander, (Noomi Rapace) is not the usual heroine you expect in a novel or a movie. She is antisocial, secretive, and extremely distrusting of any authority. She is less than one hundred pounds, a skilled boxer, black arts computer hacker, and has an eidetic memory. She works off the books for a Copenhagen security company. She has been deemed by medical professionals in Sweden to be incapable of running her own affairs and is under guardianship. Her skills with computers and self-defense she keeps hidden.
Mikael Blomkvist, (Michael Nyqvist) is the editor/publisher of a crusading (leftist) magazine specializing in uncovering injustice. Blomkvist is involved in a liable lawsuit that he is about to lose and will send him to jail for several months. Upon his conviction, he leaves his magazine and takes a job researching the disappearance of a young girl forty years earlier. The girl’s uncle has hired the security company that Lisbeth works for to check up on Blomkvist. It is Lisbeth that makes the report. From this point on the stories of Lisbeth and Mikael intertwine. Lisbeth discovers, but does not reveal, that Mikael did not liable; that his story not only was truthful, but only skimmed the top. She agrees to become Mikael’s researcher to discover what happened to the missing girl.
The story involves a father/son serial murders, Nazis and corporate malfeasance; and of course, Blomkvist and Salander become, for a brief time, lovers. The lost girl is discovered in Australia. Blomkvist does his time in jail and Lisbeth gives him the information to bring down the man that he was convicted of slandering. Lisbeth uses her computer skills to steal several million dollars from the man Blomkvist was accused of slandering. It turns out he was stealing not only from the Swedish government but also from the Mafia.
The next, two books and four installments of the series involve Lisbeth more than Blomkvist. We discover that Lisbeth had been sent to a psychiatric hospital for setting her father on fire. Not without justification, he regularly beat her mother. We discover her father was a Russian KGB officer who defected to Sweden and is now involved in smuggling, drugs and women. His activities are covered up by a secret group in the government. It is this secret group that arranged to send Lisbeth to the psychiatric hospital, and take away her rights. Lisbeth ends up on her father’s farm, where he attempts to kill her and she returns the favor. Both end up in the same hospital.
The group decides the best action is to silence Lisbeth and her father. A plan is started to kill them but only the father is killed. Lisbeth is charged with attempted murder of her father at the farm and a trial date set. As time for the trial is coming, Blomkvist is investigating how the group has kept Lisbeth subjugated and the conspiracy that continues to seek to keep her imprisoned. He plans to publish an entire issue exposing the conspiracy the first day of the trial.
The trial and the subsequent arrest of the group and acquittal of Lisbeth brings to conclusion all that Larsson wrote. Sadly, he passed away before he became famous. There is a follow up novel, by David Lagercrantz, The Girl in the Spider’s Web. It is worth the read if you enjoy the characters Larsson created. Noomi Rapace has gone on to other movies most notable is Riddley Scott’s, 2012 Alien prequel, Prometheus. • (1500 views)