My current reading has taken me to Sweden. I’m devouring the international bestseller, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It’s a mystery that takes place in Sweden featuring a financial journalist and a young female computer hacker. The journalist is hired to simultaneously write the history of a wealthy industrial family and solve a decades-old murder.
Here is the opening:
Prologue, A Friday in November
It happened every year, was almost a ritual. And this was his eighty-second birthday. When, as usual, the flower was delivered, he took off the wrapping paper and then picked up the telephone to call Detective Superintendent Morell who, when he retired, had moved to Lake Siljan in Dalarna. They were not only the same age, they had been born on the same day — which was something of an irony under the circumstances. The old policeman was sitting with his coffee, waiting, expecting the call.
“What is it this year?”
“I don’t know what kind it is. I’ll have to get someone to tell me what it is. It’s white.”
“No letter I suppose.”
“Just the flower. The frame is the same kind as last year. One of those do-it-yourself ones.”
“Same as always, all in capitals. Upright, neat lettering.”
With that, the subject was exhausted, and not another word was exchanged for almost a minute. The retired policeman leaned back in his kitchen chair and drew on his pipe. He knew he was no longer expected to come up with a pithy comment or any sharp question which would shed a new light on the case. Those days had long since passed, and the exchange between the two men seemed like a ritual attaching to a mystery which no-one else in the whole world had the least interest in unravelling.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is book 1 of “The Millenium Trilogy” by Stieg Larsson, who handed in all three manuscripts to his publisher, then died suddenly in 2004. The book features many characters and manages to handle gory crime content without being explicitly gross. I’ve lost many hours of sleep staying up late to read as much as I could.
The second book in the series will be released in July 2009.
Have you read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo?