I watched the film, Fincher’s film, before I got to read this, and it is also then, perhaps obvious that I managed to avoid the hype surrounding it. I had read an article about Larsson and the situation that his common law wife finds herself in, and I had kind of filed away, but I have to admit that I only really perked up my interest when the film came out. The foreign films I had toyed with but never really committed to. Something wasn’t clicking. Now, having read this book, and gearing up to read the second one in the series, I have to admit to feeling a little stupid for not cottoning on earlier. For a second there I thought that the film was going to make it difficult to envisage and separate the characters from the actors, but the narrative pulls you in, and the thing that really makes it is the way that the characters interact with each other, and the lean fluid way in which the author moves from the thoughts and interior landscape of the characters to their actions in the world. The psychology of Salander and Blomkvist hits no false notes, and nor does that of any of the other characters. Sometimes most parts of the machinery of a novel will work cohesively together and then in the resolution the stress of ticking all the boxes and handling all the loose threads can cause things to start to shake loose, and the latter part of the book can become a little ramshackle — that didn’t happen here. You expect good research and realism from a writer with Larsson’s background, and that is what you get – and it makes for a solid grounding on which to build the rest of the novel. To create characters that have unlikeable traits and who commit unspeakable acts that still remain human and who you can have a reality with is quite an achievement. I hope that this isn’t fluke, as some of the reviewers I have read on peer review sites suggest, and that the rest of the books in the series are of the same calibre. I also hope that those possibly unpublished manuscripts turn up at some point.