Thanks to a comment posted here, I discovered DJ’s Krimiblog – which offers commentary on Scandinavian mysteries in both Danish and English translation. There’s a fascinating analysis of the parallels between Larsson’s crusading journalist, Mikael Blomqvist, to Astrid Lindgren’s series about a boy detective, Kalle Blomqvist.
Mikael Blomkvist does not appear in the prologue but on the first page of chapter one it is clear that Stieg Larsson deliberately draws parallels to Astrid Lindgren´s trilogy about the boy detective Kalle Blomkvist (first published 1949-56; Bill Bergson in English), “´Let us have a comment Kalle Blomkvist´ said the journalist from one of the tabloids.” The parallel is elaborated on the following pages where we get a background story telling us how Mikael as a very young journalist exposed a gang of bank robbers almost by accident, and earned immediate fame plus an obvious nickname. Mikael himself is not exactly thrilled, “Never an evil word about Astrid Lindgren – he loved her books, but hated the pet name.”
In The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Salander is sympathetic to the annoyance of a grown-up journalist being likened to a children’s book hero, saying “Somebody’s get a fat lip if they ever called me Pippi Longstocking.” But there are some intriguing parallels. Pippi is resourceful, independent, a child without adults to supervise or stand in the way. She is incredibly strong and has adventures that go far beyond what children normally experience. But she is, above all, a child who lives alone. That power and independence comes with wrenching loneliness.
It’s telling that, when the journalist examines the cottage where the missing child lived, there are copies of both Kalle Blomqvist and Pippi Longstocking stories among the mix of books there – and Blomqvist smiles in recognition.