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Saturday, June 14
Blomkvist got help with the third jigsaw piece from an unexpected quarter.
After working on the images practically all night he slept heavily until well into the afternoon. He awoke with a headache, took a shower, and walked to Susanne’s for breakfast. He ought to have gone to
see Vanger and report what he had discovered. Instead, when he came back, he went to Cecilia’s house
and knocked on the door. He needed to ask her why she had lied to him about being in Harriet’s room.
No-one came to the door.
He was just leaving when he heard: “Your whore isn’t home.”
Gollum had emerged from his cave. He was once tall, almost six foot six, but now so stooped with age
that his eyes were level with Blomkvist’s. His face and neck were splotched with dark liver spots. He was in his pyjamas and a brown dressing gown, leaning on a cane. He looked like a Central Casting nasty
“What did you say?”
“I said that your whore isn’t home.”
Blomkvist stepped so close that he was almost nose to nose with Harald Vanger.
“You’re talking about your own daughter, you fucking pig.”
“I’m not the one who comes sneaking over here in the night,” Harald said with a toothless smile. He
smelled foul. Blomkvist sidestepped him and went down the road without looking back. He found Vanger
in his office.
“I’ve just had the pleasure of meeting your brother,” Mikael said.
“Harald? Well, well, so, he’s ventured out. He does that a couple of times a year.”
“I was knocking on Cecilia’s door when this voice behind me said, quote, Your whore isn’t home, unquote.”
“That sounds like Harald,” Vanger said calmly.
“He called his own daughter a whore, for God’s sake.”
“He’s been doing that for years. That’s why they don’t talk much.”
“Why does he call her that?”
“Cecilia lost her virginity when she was twenty-one. It happened here in Hedestad after a summer romance, the year after Harriet disappeared.”
“The man she fell in love with was called Peter Samuelsson. He was a financial assistant at the Vanger
Corporation. A bright boy. Today he works for ABB. The kind of man I would have been proud to have as
my son-in-law if she were my daughter. Harald measured his skull or checked his family tree or something and discovered that he was one-quarter Jewish.”
“He’s called her a whore ever since.”
“He knew that Cecilia and I have . . .”
“Everybody in the village probably knows that with the possible exception of Isabella, because no-one
in his right mind would tell her anything, and thank heavens she’s nice enough to go to bed at 8:00 every
night. Harald on the other hand has presumably been following every step you take.”
Blomkvist sat down, looking foolish.
“You mean that everyone knows . . .”
“And you don’t mind?”
“My dear Mikael, it’s really none of my business.”
“Where is Cecilia?”
“The school term is over. She went to London on Saturday to visit her sister, and after that she’s having
a holiday in . . . hmmm, I think it was Florida. She’ll be back in about a month.”
Blomkvist felt even more foolish.
“We’ve sort of put our relationship on hold for a while.”
“So I understand, but it’s still none of my business. How’s your work coming along?”
Blomkvist poured himself a cup of coffee from Vanger’s thermos.
“I think I’ve found some new material.”
He took his iBook out of his shoulder bag and scrolled through the series of images showing how Harriet had reacted on Järnvägsgatan. He explained how he had found the other spectators with the camera and their car with the Norsjö Carpentry Shop sign. When he was finished Vanger wanted to see all
the pictures again. When he looked up from the computer his face was grey. Blomkvist was suddenly alarmed and put a hand on Vanger’s shoulder. Vanger waved him away and sat in silence for a while.
“You’ve done what I thought was impossible. You’ve turned up something completely new. What are
you going to do next?”
“I am going to look for that snapshot, if it still exists.”
He did not mention the face in the window.
Harald Vanger had gone back to his cave by the time Blomkvist came out. When he turned the corner he
found someone quite different sitting on the porch of his cottage, reading a newspaper. For a fraction of a second he thought it was Cecilia, but the dark-haired girl on the porch was his daughter.
“Hi, Pappa,” Pernilla Abrahamsson said.
He gave his daughter a long hug.
“Where in the world did you spring from?”
“From home, of course. I’m on my way to Skellefteå. Can I stay the night?”
“Of course you can, but how did you get here?”
“Mamma knew where you were. And I asked at the café if they knew where you were staying. The woman told me exactly how to get here. Are you glad to see me?”
“Certainly I am. Come in. You should have given me some warning so I could buy some good food or
“I stopped on impulse. I wanted to welcome you home from prison, but you never called.”
“That’s OK. Mamma told me how you’re always getting lost in your own thoughts.”
“Is that what she says about me?”
“More or less. But it doesn’t matter. I still love you.”
“I love you too, but you know . . .”
“I know. I’m pretty grown-up by now.”
He made tea and put out pastries.
What his daughter had said was true. She was most assuredly no longer a little girl; she was almost seventeen, practically a grown woman. He had to learn to stop treating her like a child.
“So, how was it?”
“How was what?”
He laughed. “Would you believe me if I said that it was like having a paid holiday with all the time you
wanted for thinking and writing?”
“I would. I don’t suppose there’s much difference between a prison and a cloister, and people have always gone to cloisters for self-reflection.”
“Well, there you go. I hope it hasn’t been a problem for you, your father being a gaolbird.”
“Not at all. I’m proud of you, and I never miss a chance to brag about the fact that you went to prison
for what you believe in.”
“I saw Erika Berger on TV.”
“Pernilla, I’m not innocent. I’m sorry that I haven’t talked to you about what happened, but I wasn’t unfairly sentenced. The court made their decision based on what they were told during the trial.”
“But you never told your side of the story.”
“No, because it turned out that I didn’t have proof.”
“OK. Then answer me one question: is Wennerström a scoundrel or isn’t he?”
“He’s one of the blackest scoundrels I’ve ever dealt with.”
“That’s good enough for me. I’ve got a present for you.”
She took a package out of her bag. He opened it and found a CD, The Best of Eurythmics. She knew it was one of his favourite old bands. He put it in his iBook, and they listened to “Sweet Dreams” together.
“Why are you going to Skellefteå?”
“Bible school at a summer camp with a congregation called the Light of Life,” Pernilla said, as if it were the most obvious choice in the world.
Blomkvist felt a cold fire run down the back of his neck. He realised how alike his daughter and Harriet Vanger were. Pernilla was sixteen, exactly the age Harriet was when she disappeared. Both had
absent fathers. Both were attracted to the religious fanaticism of strange sects—Harriet to the Pentecostals and Pernilla to an offshoot of something that was just about as crackpot as the Word of Life.
He did not know how he should handle his daughter’s new interest in religion. He was afraid of encroaching on her right to decide for herself. At the same time, the Light of Life was most definitely a
sect of the type that he would not hesitate to lambast in Millennium. He would take the first opportunity to discuss this matter with her mother.
Pernilla slept in his bed while he wrapped himself in blankets on the bench in the kitchen. He woke with a crick in his neck and aching muscles. Pernilla was eager to get going, so he made breakfast and went with
her to the station. They had a little time, so they bought coffee at the mini-mart and sat down on a bench at the end of the platform, chatting about all sorts of things. Until she said: “You don’t like the idea that I’m going to Skellefteå, do you?”
He was non-plussed.
“It’s not dangerous. But you’re not a Christian, are you?”
“Well, I’m not a good Christian, at any rate.”
“You don’t believe in God?”
“No, I don’t believe in God, but I respect the fact that you do. Everyone has to have something to believe in.”
When her train arrived, they gave each other a long hug until Pernilla had to get on board. With one foot
on the step, she turned.
“Pappa, I’m not going to proselytise. It doesn’t matter to me what you believe, and I’ll always love you. But I think you should continue your Bible studies.”
“Why do you say that?”
“I saw the quotes you had on the wall,” she said. “But why so gloomy and neurotic? Kisses. See you
She waved and was gone. He stood on the platform, baffled, watching the train pull away. Not until it
vanished around the bend did the meaning sink in.
Mikael hurried out of the station. It would be almost an hour before the next bus left. He was too much
on edge to wait that long. He ran to the taxi stand and found Hussein with the Norrland accent.
Ten minutes later he was in his office. He had taped the note above his desk.
He looked around the room. Then he realised where he’d be able to find a Bible. He took the note with
him, searched for the keys, which he had left in a bowl on the windowsill, and jogged the whole way to
Gottfried’s cabin. His hands were practically shaking as he took Harriet’s Bible down from its shelf.
She had not written down telephone numbers. The figures indicated the chapter and verse in Leviticus,
the third book of the Pentateuch.
(Magda) Leviticus, 20:16
“If a woman approaches any beast and lies with it, you shall kill the woman and the beast; they shall
be put to death, their blood is upon them.”
(Sara) Leviticus, 21:9
“And the daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by playing the harlot, profanes her father; she
shall be burned with fire.”
(R.J.) Leviticus, 1:12
“And he shall cut it into pieces, with its head and its fat, and the priest shall lay them in order upon
the wood that is on the fire upon the altar.”
(R.L.) Leviticus, 20:27
“A man or a woman who is a medium or a wizard shall be put to death; they shall be stoned with
stones, their blood shall be upon them.”
(Mari) Leviticus, 20:18
“If a man lies with a woman having her sickness, and uncovers her nakedness, he has made naked her
fountain, and she has uncovered the fountain of her blood; both of them shall be cut off from among
He went out and sat on the porch. Each verse had been underlined in Harriet’s Bible. He lit a cigarette
and listened to the singing of birds nearby.
He had the numbers. But he didn’t have the names. Magda, Sara, Mari, R.J., and R.L.
All of a sudden an abyss opened as Mikael’s brain made an intuitive leap. He remembered the fire victim in Hedestad that Inspector Morell had told him about. The Rebecka case, which occurred in the late forties. The girl was raped and then killed by having her head placed on smouldering coals. “And he shall cut it into pieces, with its head and its fat, and the priest shall lay them in order upon the wood that is on the fire upon the altar.” Rebecka. R.J. What was her last name?
What in God’s name had Harriet gotten herself mixed up in?
Vanger had been taken ill. He was in bed when Blomkvist knocked on his door. But Anna agreed to let
him in, saying he could visit the old man for a few minutes.
“A summer cold,” Henrik explained, sniffling. “What did you want?”
“I have a question.”
“Did you ever hear of a murder that took place in Hedestad sometime in the forties? A girl called Rebecka—her head was put on a fire.”
“Rebecka Jacobsson,” Henrik said without a second’s hesitation. “That’s a name I’ll never forget, although I haven’t heard it mentioned in years.”
“But you know about the murder?”
“Indeed I do. Rebecka Jacobsson was twenty-three or twenty-four when she died. That must have been
in … It was in 1949. There was a tremendous hue and cry, I had a small part in it myself.”
“Oh yes. Rebecka was on our clerical staff, a popular girl and very attractive. But why are you asking?”
“I’m not sure, Henrik, but I may be on to something. I’m going to have to think this through.”
“Are you suggesting that there’s a connection between Harriet and Rebecka? There were … almost seventeen years separating the two.”
“Let me do my thinking and I’ll come back and see you tomorrow if you’re feeling better.”
Blomkvist did not see Vanger the following day. Just before 1:00 a.m. he was still at the kitchen table, reading Harriet’s Bible, when he heard the sound of a car making its way at high speed across the bridge.
He looked out the window and saw the flashing blue lights of an ambulance.
Filled with foreboding, he ran outside. The ambulance parked by Vanger’s house. On the ground floor
all the lights were on. He dashed up the porch steps in two bounds and found a shaken Anna in the hall.
“It’s his heart,” she said. “He woke me a little while ago, complaining of pains in his chest. Then he
Blomkvist put his arms around the housekeeper, and he was still there when the medics came out with
an unconscious Vanger on a stretcher. Martin Vanger, looking decidedly stressed, walked behind. He had
been in bed when Anna called. His bare feet were stuck in a pair of slippers, and he hadn’t zipped his fly.
He gave Mikael a brief greeting and then turned to Anna.
“I’ll go with him to the hospital. Call Birger and see if you can reach Cecilia in London in the morning,” he said. “And tell Dirch.”
“I can go to Frode’s house,” Blomkvist said. Anna nodded gratefully.
It took several minutes before a sleepy Frode answered Blomkvist’s ring at his door.
“I have bad news, Dirch. Henrik has been taken to the hospital. It seems to be a heart attack. Martin wanted me to tell you.”
“Good Lord,” Frode said. He glanced at his watch. “It’s Friday the thirteenth,” he said.
Not until the next morning, after he’d had a brief talk with Dirch Frode on his mobile and been assured
that Vanger was still alive, did he call Berger with the news that Millennium’s new partner had been taken to the hospital with a heart attack. Inevitably, the news was received with gloom and anxiety.
Late in the evening Frode came to see him and give him the details about Henrik Vanger’s condition.
“He’s alive, but he’s not doing well. He had a serious heart attack, and he’s also suffering from an infection.”
“Have you seen him?”
“No. He’s in intensive care. Martin and Birger are sitting with him.”
“What are his chances?”
Frode waved a hand back and forth.
“He survived the attack, and that’s a good sign. Henrik is in excellent condition, but he’s old. We’ll just have to wait.”
They sat in silence, deep in thought. Blomkvist made coffee. Frode looked wretchedly unhappy.
“I need to ask you about what’s going to happen now,” Blomkvist said.
Frode looked up.
“The conditions of your employment don’t change. They’re stipulated in a contract that runs until the end of this year, whether Henrik lives or dies. You don’t have to worry.”
“No, that’s not what I meant. I’m wondering who I report to in his absence.”
“Mikael, you know as well as I do that this whole story about Harriet is just a pastime for Henrik.”
“Don’t say that, Dirch.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’ve found new evidence,” Blomkvist said. “I told Henrik about some of it yesterday. I’m very much
afraid that it may have helped to bring on his heart attack.”
Frode looked at him with a strange expression.
“You’re joking, you must be …”
Blomkvist shook his head.
“Over the past few days I’ve found significant material about Harriet’s disappearance. What I’m worried about is that we never discussed who I should report to if Henrik is no longer here.”
“You report to me.”
“OK. I have to go on with this. Can I put you in the picture right now?”
Blomkvist described what he had found as concisely as possible, and he showed Frode the series of
pictures from Järnvägsgatan. Then he explained how his own daughter had unlocked the mystery of the names in the date book. Finally, he proposed the connection, as he had for Vanger the day before, with the murder of Rebecka Jacobsson in 1949, R.J.
The only thing he kept to himself was Cecilia Vanger’s face in Harriet’s window. He had to talk to her
before he put her in a position where she might be suspected of something.
Frode’s brow was creased with concern.
“You really think that the murder of Rebecka has something to do with Harriet’s disappearance?”
“It seems unlikely, I agree, but the fact remains that Harriet wrote the initials R.J. in her date book next to the reference to the Old Testament law about burnt offerings. Rebecka Jacobsson was burned to death.
One connection with the Vanger family is inescapable—she worked for the corporation.”
“But what is the connection with Harriet?”
“I don’t know yet. But I want to find out. I will tell you everything I would have told Henrik. You have
to make the decisions for him.”
“Perhaps we ought to inform the police.”
“No. At least not without Henrik’s blessing. The statute of limitations has long since run out in the case of Rebecka, and the police investigation was closed. They’re not going to reopen an investigation fifty-four years later.”
“All right. What are you going to do?”
Blomkvist paced a lap around the kitchen.
“First, I want to follow up the photograph lead. If we could see what it was that Harriet saw … it might
be the key. I need a car to go to Norsjö and follow that lead, wherever it takes me. And also, I want to
research each of the Leviticus verses. We have one connection to one murder. We have four verses, possibly four other clues. To do this … I need some help.”
“What kind of help?”
“I really need a research assistant with the patience to go through old newspaper archives to find
‘Magda’ and ‘Sara’ and the other names. If I’m right in thinking that Rebecka wasn’t the only victim.”
“You mean you want to let someone else in on …”
“There’s a lot of work that has to be done and in a hurry. If I were a police officer involved in an active investigation, I could divide up the hours and resources and get people to dig for me. I need a professional who knows archive work and who can be trusted.”
“I understand … Actually I believe I know of an expert researcher,” said Frode, and before he could
stop himself, he added, “She was the one who did the background investigation on you.”
“Who did what?” Blomkvist said.
“I was thinking out loud,” Frode said. “It’s nothing.” I’m getting old, he thought.
“You had someone do an investigation on me?”
“It’s nothing dramatic, Mikael. We wanted to hire you, and we just did a check on what sort of person
“So that’s why Henrik always seems to know exactly where he has me. How thorough was this
“It was quite thorough.”
“Did it look into Millennium’s problems?”
Frode shrugged. “It had a bearing.”
Blomkvist lit a cigarette. It was his fifth of the day.
“A written report?”
“Mikael, it’s nothing to get worked up about.”
“I want to read the report,” he said.
“Oh come on, there’s nothing out of the ordinary about this. We wanted to check up on you before we
“I want to read the report,” Mikael repeated.
“I couldn’t authorise that.”
“Really? Then here’s what I say to you: either I have that report in my hands within the hour, or I quit.
I’ll take the evening train back to Stockholm. Where is the report?”
The two men eyed each other for several seconds. Then Frode sighed and looked away.
“In my office, at home.”
Frode had put up a terrible fuss. It was not until 6:00 that evening that Blomkvist had Lisbeth Salander’s report in his hand. It was almost eighty pages long, plus dozens of photocopied articles, certificates, and other records of the details of his life and career.
It was a strange experience to read about himself in what was part biography and part intelligence report. He was increasingly astonished at how detailed the report was. Salander had dug up facts that he
thought had been long buried in the compost of history. She had dug up his youthful relationship with a woman who had been a flaming Syndicalist and who was now a politician. Who in the world had she talked to? She had found his rock band Bootstrap, which surely no-one today would remember. She had scrutinised his finances down to the last öre. How the hell had she done it?
As a journalist, Blomkvist had spent many years hunting down information about people, and he could
judge the quality of the work from a purely professional standpoint. There was no doubt that this Salander was one hell of an investigator. He doubted that even he could have produced a comparable report on any
individual completely unknown to him.
It also dawned on him that there had never been any reason for him and Berger to keep their distance in
Vanger’s presence; he already knew of their long-standing relationship. The report came up with a disturbingly precise appraisal of Millennium’s financial position; Vanger knew just how shaky things were when he first contacted Berger. What sort of game was he playing?
The Wennerström affair was merely summarised, but whoever wrote the report had obviously been a
spectator in court during part of the trial. The report questioned Blomkvist’s refusal to comment during the trial. Smart woman.
The next second Mikael straightened up, hardly able to believe his eyes. Salander had written a brief
passage giving her assessment of what would happen after the trial. She had reproduced virtually word
for word the press release that he and Berger had submitted after he resigned as publisher of Millennium.
But Salander had used his original wording. He glanced again at the cover of the report. It was dated three days before Blomkvist was sentenced. That was impossible. The press release existed then in only one place in the whole world. In Blomkvist’s computer. In his iBook, not on his computer at the office.
The text was never printed out. Not even Berger had a copy, although they had talked about the subject.
Blomkvist put down Salander’s report. He put on his jacket and went out into the night, which was very
bright one week before Midsummer. He walked along the shore of the sound, past Cecilia Vanger’s property and the luxurious motorboat below Martin Vanger’s villa. He walked slowly, pondering as he went. Finally he sat on a rock and looked at the flashing buoy lights in Hedestad Bay. There was only one
“You’ve been in my computer, Fröken Salander,” he said aloud. “You’re a fucking hacker. ”
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