Maureen Corrigan, book critic for National Public Radio, also thinks highly of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.
. . . one of the most intriguing aspects of hard-boiled history is how the form has been enthusiastically embraced by writers outside of the United States as a literary tool to explore the skeletons buried deep in their own particular patches of the world. In fact, for the past decade or so, Sweden has been a popular pick for crime capital of the literary world, thanks to Henning Mankell and his fellow practitioners of noir on ice.
The newest name in mystery to emerge out of the frozen north is that of the late Stieg Larsson. His debut novel, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, was a blockbuster when it was published in Europe, selling an estimated 2 million copies. Now, an English language version, translated by Reg Keeland, has just been published here.
A veteran mystery reader could spot the clues to this novel’s runaway popularity as easily as Poe’s detective, Auguste Dupin, spotted that purloined letter. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is a super-smart amalgam of the corporate corruption tale, legal thriller and dysfunctional-family psychological suspense story. It’s witty, wrenchingly violent in a few isolated passages and unflinching in its commonsense feminist social commentary.
The social vulnerability of women is the underlying Mystery with a capital “M” here; specifically the abuse — psychological and sexual — that’s perpetrated against young and dependent women.
She also notes that it’s not all noir – there’s a classic “locked room” feel to the mystery that kicks it all off. But she predicts it’s Lisabeth Salander who will really grab the reader’s imagination.
Corrigan, incidentally, is the author of a memoir in books – Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading. A title that many of us can relate to. Thanks to my 4MA friend Lourdes for catching this radio review.