As an author of fiction books in my own right I can’t help but feel some sadness that all of Stieg Larsson’s recognition as an accomplished author occurred posthumously. Raising his own bar very high over The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium book 1), The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium book 2) places most of the main characters on a vastly expanded chess board with one of the most intricate plots I’ve ever seen – anywhere and in any language.
A triple murder with two sets of fingerprints on one murder weapon. The first set belongs to the gun’s owner and the other set belongs to Lisbeth Salander who is rapidly (and understandably, for several reasons) put at the top of the prime suspects list.
In fact that list has just one name on it — hers.
As a reader I felt helpless watching this story unfold with Lisbeth Salander as the murderer beyond almost all doubt. Her chaotic history with ample psychological ammunition for any prosecutor along with placing her at the crime scene of two of the three murders that same evening — to the very hour they occurred along with the murder weapon itself with her prints all over it would lead any reasonable person to conclude she did it.
A part of me wondered if maybe she DID do it. She’s got the history. She’s got the capacity. But did she have the motive?
Enter Mikael Blomkvist to muddy the waters and present so many alternative murder suspects as to confuse and confound Sherlock Holmes himself.
I won’t ruin it for you and spoil all the fun but I will tell you this; the suspense is “ruined” well before the end. Have no fear as fresh waves of new suspense roll in to leave you guessing almost until the end.
The end itself is also suspenseful but in a completely different way. The end is so satisfying and so elegantly executed as it dovetails off the story built so exquisitely by Larsson from start to finish.
The Millenium Series is one of those series you really should read from book one. You don’t have to in the case of The Girl Who Played with Fire but you’ll gain a finer appreciation of all the main characters and the story told thus far if you do.