The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Mikael Blomkvist, a renowned investigative reporter, is found guilty of publishing false allegation about billionaire industrialist Wennerström in Millenium, the political magazine he has co-founded, losing the credibility and reputation he had built as a truth-seeking journalist. Shortly thereafter Henrik Vanger, an old Swedish billionaire, offers him a a strange freelance assignment.

His mission: Blomkvist is to attempt to find out about the fate of Vanger’s niece Harriet who has been missing for forty years, a mystery which has remained unsolved despite all the money and effort Vanger has thrown into the initial police investigation.

The reward: Vanger is in possession of information on Wennerström’s dealings which would clear Blomkvist’s name and allow him to appeal the court ruling.

Along with Lisbeth Salander, a computer hacker/private investigator with a past filled with violence and sexual abuse, Mikael Blomkvist finds out that solving the forty year old mystery of Harriet’s disappearance will take him much farther back in time, and straight into harm’s way.

This, is the basic premise of the story. The book however, is much more than the story. Written by Stieg Larsson, himself an investigative journalist, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo goes about exploring the ghosts and skeletons of Swedish history, delves into the dirty dealings of international financial corporations, and deals with political and social issues while maintaining a highly complex yet solid story line.

A very highly recommended read.

Things you should know:

  • The original Swedish title of this book is “Män som hatar kvinnor”, which literally translates to “Men who hate Women”.
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the first book in the Millenium trilogy, followed by “The Girl who Played with Fire” and “The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”
  • The Millennium trilogy has already been made into three Swedish movies, and is going to be remade as a Hollywood production starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara in the roles of Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander. The movie remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is scheduled for release in December of this year.


  1. Marie

    Looks interesting!! Before getting to the end of the post, I was gonna say that it should be adapted as a movie 🙂

  2. I’ll definitely get it! Thanks 🙂

  3. Good work Fadi, I loved the trilogy myself, and I must say Lisbeth Salander is one of the strongest, most distinct and eccentric female characters I met in a long time.

    Some of the content and language in TGDT are slightly graphic, but I also recommend it highly, if only to meet lisbeth. Besides, how often do you get to read detective novels that take place in sweden? After finishing the trilogy I started randomly caring about Swedish politics. Something I never thought would happen 🙂

    PS Fadi you’re in sweden right?

    • Fadi

      Yes Lisbeth is definitely one of those characters that you just fall in love with. I read somewhere that she was inspired by the question “What would Pippi Longstockings be like if she grew up and lived in the real world ?”. Always thought that was a hilarious way of looking at it.

      I’m guessing you must’ve noticed Swedish politics are quite uneventful compared to Lebanese politics, one couldn’t really have a daily blog about Swedish politics 😛
      and.. yes I’m in Sweden.

  4. OH

    This was indeed a lot of fun. I would actually recommend it as an audiobook. The story is gripping enough and entertaining enough to listen to while doing basic things (on a train, at the supermarket, at the gym). For those of you who have listened or read it, I recommend this parody by Nora Ephron

  5. By the way, have you noticed in the trilogy that the good guys have macs and the bad guys have PCs? Really cool..

    OH: The parody is hilarious!

  6. anis

    I reviewed the movie a while ago. I loved loved loved the story. But I hate the fact that a remake is already in the work.

  7. I am halfway through the second book. Volume one was really interesting.

    When I finished the first book, I decided to watch the movie that was made from the book (it has the same title After watching it, I had got mixed emotions.
    In brief, the book was much much better (aren’t they always?); however, the only thing I enjoyed was the fact that I got to see how the characters I’ve been imagining myself are physically portrayed by real actors (who IMO gave a terrible performance).

    I say do watch the movie if you’ve got some free time on your hands; or get yourself a nice book and read it instead. Trust me it’ll be a better investment of your time.

  8. mirozon

    The first volume was fascinating, the second as well, not as much as the first though. The third is on the shelf waiting to be read. I watched the Swedish movie adaptation of the first movie but I must say it was, how to put it, too Swedish for my taste or something like that.

  9. Marie

    Now that I watched the movie, I’m very curious to read the book!

  10. The novel is really rich in detail and quick paced — And incredibly moving in depicting the struggles faced by its female protagonist. When I reached the final page I was disappointed that there was no more to read. I did not want the story to end. A middle aged journalist, and a troubled but incredibly talented young woman who works as a PI intersect to solve a labyrinthine plot. Apparently this was the first novel in a trilogy by the brillant writer, Stieg Larsson, who unfortunately died in 2004: the book contains a tribute to him and his career. The complex mystery, thriller aspects are really good, and then the whole other aspects of the novel which is also a social comment on society in Sweden, journalistic ethics, misogyny, and gut-wrenching sexual violence. So prepare to be disturbed by the darkness it depicts.

    All in all, its one of the best mystery /thrillers I’ve read from the last decade. In fact comparing it to the Da Vinci Code, the characters are not simplistic one dimensional cut outs at all. The rich characterizations and explorations of dark behaviour remind me of Elizabeth George. This is a superb novel and impossible to put down.

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