The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson


This book has received so much coverage that laying out the plot seems somewhat unnecessary. But I’m going to do it anyway – just briefly, to remind myself and to give me something to hang my thoughts on.

The story opens some time after the ending of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – and this is a series that you definitely need to read in the right order.

Lisabeth Salander has broken off contact with Mikael Blomkvist. He doesn’t know why.

Millennium magazine is thriving and Blomkvist has a powerful story ready to break – a story about sex trafficking and the abuse of young girls implicating powerful men in high places. But before publication the two writers are found murdered.

Salander’s guardian is murdered too and she is named as prime suspect. There is a great deal of circumstantial evidence linking her to the crimes and a nationwide hunt begins.

But Blomvist doesn’t believe that she is guilty and he thinks that the solution lies in the story that he was to publish.

And Salander is looking for the traffickers too. Just what links her to them?

The core of the story is simple but the details are intricate.

And no detail is too small – you will find much information about furnishings, computer specifications, procedures at meetings and much within the pages of this book.

Yet it never loses its grip.


Well, it has a broad scope, moving between Blomkvist and events at Millenium, Salander, the security company she used to work for and the police investigation.

The plot is well structured and paced, and a wide cast of characters is very well drawn.

Stieg Larsson takes on some big issues – the sex industry, the abuse of power, the responsibility of criminals versus the society that created them, individuals let down by the state, tabloid journalism … This is as much a story state of the nation as a crime story.

Ultimately though this is Salander’s story, and she is an extrordinary creation. Her back story is filled in and, in the process, it becomes clear that a number of elements that seemed less that relevant to the main storyline of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo are very significant to the bigger story.

For me, that made this a better book than its predecessor.

And in the end there is a resolution but not a conclusion – a number of lines are left open for the next book. I’m looking forward to it.

Translated by Reg Keeland

8 responses

  1. Wow, loved your review and it has inspired me to read Girl w/Dragon Tattoo this year for sure because this sounds like a really interesting series!

  2. I haven’t read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo yet either! It is sitting near the top of my TBR pile, so hopefully I’ll get round to it in the next month or two. I’m really looking forward to it – it looks like you could have created another wave of Dragon Tattoo readers for the coming months.

  3. Pingback: Saturday Review of Books: April 18, 2009 at Semicolon

  4. Pingback: Spring Reading Thing 2009: Book Reviews | Callapidder Days

  5. Pingback: Stieg Larsson – The Girl Who Played With Fire « Fyrefly's Book Blog

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