The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

Probably everyone in the world who reads crime novels has already read ‘The Girl Who Played With Fire’ by Stieg Larsson, the second book in the Millenium trilogy.

Probably everyone who has read ‘The Girl Who Played With Fire’ also sat up reading much too late at night and were tired and cross the next day. Possibly they also burned tea and neglected their housework because they were unable to leave the book’s heroine, Lisbeth Salander, in mortal danger without knowing how things would turn out. Well, that was my experience, anyway.

When I read ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,’ the first book in the Millenium trilogy last year, I couldn’t put it down either. The original Swedish title of ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is ‘Men Who Hate Women.’ This is a good description of a major theme in Larsson’s books.

Usually I don’t read crime novels, because I don’t like being scared, or reading about blood and guts and gore. Despite this, I became so attached to Lisbeth and another character, Mikael Blomkvist that I wanted them to hurt the bad guys before they could be hurt.

Lisbeth is socially inept, has dubious morals which somehow seem completely acceptable while you are reading these books and she takes terrible revenges on people who hurt her, people she loves or people who she considers deserve to be hurt. She is also a genius who solves the riddle of Fermat’s Last Theorum (look it up on Wikipedia if you’re interested, I never managed to learn anything much in mathematics beyond my twelve times tables and have no hope of explaining this theorum at all. In fact I found the section where Lisbeth thinks about Pythagoras’ equation as terrifying as any of the violence in the book).

Lisbeth’s most appealing quality is that she never gives up. She keeps getting up when she is knocked down, when she is buried she digs her way out and she keeps working on the riddle of Fermat’s Last Theorum until she figures out the answer, although we (the reader) don’t find out what it is. (Probably just as well).

Larsson puts such detailed description into his books that you can look on IKEA’s website to see the furniture Lisbeth bought to furnish her apartment. If you’re interested, she bought Larlanda sofas, Poang armchairs, a Svansbo coffee table and a Rosfors kitchen table. I felt a bit like a cyber-stalker looking at the furniture she chose, until I remembered Lisbeth isn’t real.

I’m looking forward to reading the third book in Larsson’s trilogy, ‘The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,’ but am also sad because Larsson only wrote these three books before his death.
My recommendation to you if you haven’t already read these books, is to start with the first book in the trilogy, ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,’ as information you learn in the second novel will spoil the first story if you read them out of order.
You will probably recommend these books to other people too.