I'm always reading something, usually multiple books at a time.
Mikael Blomkvist, known for taking his fellow financial journalists to task for their failure to report honestly on Swedish big business, suffers from a humiliating libel conviction for an article he published on a high-profile financier, Hans-Erik Wennerstrom. Notably, he made no effort to defend himself during the trial. As he contemplates his three-month prison sentence and whether the magazine he co-publishes with Erika Berger can survive, he is contacted by Henrik Vanger, the 82-year-old former CEO of Vanger Industries. Vanger wants Blomkvist to solve a 36-year-old mystery: what happened to Vanger's great-niece Harrier, then 16, when she vanished without a trace from the family compound on Hedeby Island? The case went cold almost immediately, and Harriet's fate has consumed Vanger's life ever since. Along with that assignment, Vanger offers Blomkvist the cover story that he would be ghostwriting Vanger's autobiography. The cover story would give him leave to dig into the lives of Vanger's large, contentious family. Blomkvist is reluctant to accept the offer, despite the 2.4 million kronor he is to be paid for one year on the assignment. However, Vanger sweetens the offer by adding the incentive that at the end of the year, he would provide information proving Wennerstrom is a swindler: "I can give you his head on a platter."
When Blomkvist realizes that he will need a highly skilled research assistant, Vanger's attorney recommends Lisbeth Salander, the eponymous "girl with the dragon tattoo," revealing not only that she is "the best," but that she produced a background report on Blomkvist before Vanger approached him. Reading her frighteningly thorough report, Blomkvist concludes that she is just the person to work with.
Combining their talents, Blomkvist and Salander are able to uncover clues that no one else ever did. Along the way, they discover shocking Vanger-family secrets that span over half a century.
This is a book that I picked up on a whim from my local library, when it caught my eye on the "mystery" shelf. I was familiar with the title because the film version had had a fair amount of publicity. The narrative took some time to hook me, but once it did, I was thoroughly invested in the characters and story. I am definitely looking forward to reading the next two books in this series. (Don't worry--this is not the kind of trilogy that strings you along through three books to find out the resolution of the mystery established in book one. You will find out what happened with Harriett Vanger in this book!)