Book: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

Fun final novel of the series

Stieg Larsson
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Knopf, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-307-26999-7
563 pages

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest is the Swedish author Stieg Larsson's third novel. It is also, alas, his last. He died in 2004 at the age of 50 of a heart attack. As with his two previous novels, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire, the main character is Mikael Blomkvist, a writer for the small Swedish news-magazine Millennium. The events of this book begin just after the and of the second one. Fairly minor spoilers for that book follow but the series is best read in order.

The book begins with Lisbeth Salander arriving at a hospital as a result of the rather improbable events at the end of the last book. And then, as the police come to figure out what those events were, we get a somewhat lengthy recapitulation of much of that book. When Lisbeth is well enough, she's going to be charged with assault and attempted murder for her part in those events. Mikael Blomkvist, with the aid of his sister, Annika Giannini, who's a lawyer, and several other people intends to make her trial into a trial of the system that failed Lisbeth so comprehensively when she was a young girl. And especially a trial of the secret and unaccountable section of the security police that engineered much of that failure and now wishes to damage her credibility so as to get her out of the way again.

There isn't much drama in the book. There are few plot twists and the team that's working on Lisbeth's side always has the upper hand over the team that's working against her. When tension is occasionally raised, it's almost as quickly resolved.

I praised the first book and, to a lesser extent the second one, for the Swedish atmosphere that is created by all the small details that Mr Larsson includes. There's a certain amount of that here. For example:

    He went down to the hotel's breakfast room and had a
    cup of black coffee and a slice of wheat toast with cheese
    and a little marmalade on it. He drank a glass of mineral
    water. (p. 124)


    Lunch consisted of black coffee and a meatball sandwich
    with beet salad, which she took back to her office.
    (p. 225)

(They drink a lot of coffee in Sweden.) There's about as much of that here as there is in the second book, but not as much as delighted me in the first.

Still, the book is fun even if the plot pretty much runs on rails from the beginning. People who enjoyed the first two will surely enjoy this one.

Posted: Wed - July 28, 2010 at 07:29   Main   Category: