The Tattooed Girl The Enigma of Stieg Larsson and the Secrets Behind the Most Compelling Thrillers of Our Time

Dan Burstein, Arne de Keijzer, and John-Henri Holmberg

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

384 Pages



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Through insightful commentary and revealing interviews, students of the crime fiction genre will enter the unique world of Lisbeth Salander, Mikael Blomkvist—and of Stieg Larsson himself—discovering the real-life experiences and incidents involving Swedish politics, violence against women, and neo-Nazis that are at the heart of Larsson's work.

John-Henri Holmberg, a Swedish author and close friend of Larsson for more than three decades, provides a unique insider's look into the secrets of the author's imaginative universe, his life, and his ideas for future books—including the mysterious "fourth book" in the series, which Larsson had started but not finished at the time of his unexpected death in 2004. Mr. Holmberg, with acclaimed writers Dan Burstein and Arne de Keijzer, has assembled a collection of writing about Larsson's Millenium Triology as compelling as the books themselves.

They consider such questions as:
—What makes the Lisbeth Salander character so unique and memorable? Why have so many people from all backgrounds and with all kinds of tastes found The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo so riveting?—What are the speculations—and what is the truth—about Stieg Larsson's tragic death at age fifty, just before the publication of his novels, and the bitter battle over his legacy?—What changes were made in the plots and translations of the novels after Larsson's death—and why?—How did Larsson's early interest in science fiction and American and British crime writers feed into his creation of the Millennium trilogy? —What were Larsson's ideas for the fourth book, and are there any clues to the plots he imagined for his ten-book series? Will we meet Lisbeth's twin sister, Camilla, or any of her other seven siblings that Zalachenko tells her she has? —Does Lisbeth Salander give feminism a new definition? —What will happen in the contentious battle between Stieg Larsson's life partner, Eva Gabrielsson, and his father and brother over the future of the books, as well as the billion dollars at stake in his legacy?—Who are the emerging Swedish crime writers we should pay attention to now?

Essays, articles, and interviews by more than thirty contributors contemplate the trilogy, its characters, and its creator, and its success from all angles.


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With all my defenses as a reader and critic leveled by the hurricane force of his story, I just spent a few weeks reading Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy. It left me with the happiness...

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  • Dan Burstein, Arne de Keijzer, and John-Henri Holmberg

  • Dan Burstein is an award-winning journalist and author of thirteen prior books. He and Arne de Keijzer are the cocreators of the Secrets series, which includes the bestseller Secrets of the Code.

    John-Henri Holmberg is a nonfiction writer, translator, and editor. He met Stieg Larsson in 1972, and over the years they became good friends. Before Stieg Larsson's untimely death, he shared with Holmberg tantalizing details about the new book he was working on.