A puzzle in Sweden

Stieg Larson’s trilogy of books beginning with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo were very successful when translated from Swedish into English. Unfortunately the author was unable to benefit from this popularity as he died soon after the trilogy was completed. His estate then licensed David Lagercrantz to write more books with the same characters and he too has written a trilogy (translated by George Goulding) finishing with The Girl who Lived Twice. I have reviewed a previous book on this site and you can read that post here.

I don’t advise any reader to start with this book which is essentially the sixth in a series. To get the full story you need to start at the beginning and read all six books. I have enjoyed all of them and I didn’t detect any real difference between each trilogy despite them being written by two different authors, although, of course, David Lagercrantz will have been emulating Stieg Larson’s style.

The books concern two main characters – Mikael Blomkvist who is an investigative reporter and Lisbeth Salandar who is a misfit in society but an expert hacker. Blomkvist becomes embroiled, in this book, with a man who has died in the street and is unidentified. Before he died he seemed to ask for help from another reporter who is concerned about what he might have meant and his body also has puzzles which the person conducting the post-mortem finds intriguing. As Blomkvist attempts to unravel this mystery Lisbeth is dealing with some family issues which have arisen in previous books and which I don’t want to describe in detail because they will spoil other plots for newer readers. The book is well paced with plenty of action and the plot is resolved in a satisfying way.

I have long had issues with the idea that Lisbeth can really access the information and do the things the narrative says that she can do with computers. It all seems a bit far-fetched to me although, to be fair, it is not an area that I know much about. If you swallow this bit of improbability though the author has told an engaging story in which the two strands of narrative come together and Blomkvist and Lisbeth interact in their usual manner. I did get a bit lost in the backstory about an expedition to Everest and who did what but I got myself back on track by the end of the book.

This is accomplished storytelling which seems to me to complete the series and to leave the characters in a stable situation with issues from the past resolved. As it was published in 2019 and there seems to be no sign of another sequel that may, in fact, be the case. It’s a series worth reading, in my opinion, but it isn’t one of my favourites.

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