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Wednesday, July 2
The first thing Blomkvist did the morning he returned to Hedestad was to go to Frode’s house to ask about
Vanger’s condition. He learned to his delight that the old man had improved quite a bit during the past week. He was weak still, and fragile, but now he could sit up in bed. His condition was no longer regarded as critical.
“Thank God,” he said. “I realised that I actually like him.”
Frode said: “I know that. And Henrik likes you too. How was Norrland?”
“Successful yet unsatisfying. I’ll explain a little later. Right now I have a question.”
“What realistically will happen to your interest in Millennium if Henrik dies?”
“Nothing at all. Martin will take his place on the board.”
“Is there any risk, hypothetically speaking, that Martin might create problems for Millennium if I don’t put a stop to the investigation of Harriet’s disappearance?”
Frode gave him a sharp look.
“Nothing, actually.” Mikael told him about the conversation he had had with Martin Vanger on Midsummer Eve. “When I was in Norsjö Erika told me that Martin had called her and said that he thought
I was very much needed back at the office.”
“I understand. My guess is that Cecilia was after him. But I don’t think that Martin would put pressure
on you like that on his own. He’s much too savvy. And remember, I’m also on the board of the little subsidiary we formed when we bought into Millennium.”
“But what if a ticklish situation came up—how would you act then?”
“Contracts exist to be honoured. I work for Henrik. Henrik and I have been friends for forty-five years,
and we are in complete agreement in such matters. If Henrik should die it is in point of fact I—not Martin
—who would inherit Henrik’s share in the subsidiary. We have a contract in which we have undertaken to
back Millennium for three years. Should Martin wish to start any mischief—which I don’t believe he will
—then theoretically he could put the brakes on a small number of new advertisers.”
“The lifeblood of Millennium’s existence.”
“Yes, but look at it this way—worrying about such trivia is a waste of time. Martin is presently fighting
for his industrial survival and working fourteen hours a day. He doesn’t have time for anything else.”
“May I ask—I know it’s none of my business—what is the general condition of the corporation?”
Frode looked grave.
“We have problems.”
“Yes, even a common financial reporter like myself can see that. I mean, how serious is it?”
“Off the record?”
“We’ve lost two large orders in the electronics industry in the past few weeks and are about to be ejected from the Russian market. In September we’re going to have to lay off 1,600 employees in Örebro
and Trollhättan. Not much of a reward to give to people who’ve worked for the company for many years.
Each time we shut down a factory, confidence in the company is further undermined.”
“Martin is under pressure.”
“He’s pulling the load of an ox and walking on eggshells.”
Blomkvist went back to his cottage and called Berger. She was not at the office, so he spoke to Malm.
“Here’s the deal: Erika called when I was in Norsjö. Martin Vanger has been after her and has, how
shall I put it, encouraged her to propose that I start to take on editorial responsibility.”
“I think you should too,” Malm said.
“I know that. But the thing is, I have a contract with Henrik Vanger that I can’t break, and Martin is acting on behalf of someone up here who wants me to stop what I am doing and leave town. So his proposal amounts to an attempt to get rid of me.”
“Say hi to Erika and tell her I’ll come back to Stockholm when I’m finished here. Not before.”
“I understand. You’re stark raving mad, of course, but I’ll give her the message.”
“Christer. Something is going on up here, and I have no intention of backing out.”
Blomkvist knocked on Martin Vanger’s door. Eva Hassel opened it and greeted him warmly.
“Hi. Is Martin home?”
As if in reply to the question, Martin Vanger came walking out with a briefcase in his hand. He kissed
Eva on the cheek and said hello to Mikael.
“I’m on my way to the office. Do you want to talk to me?”
“We can do it later if you’re in a hurry.”
“Let’s hear it.”
“I won’t be going back to Millennium’s editorial board before I’m finished with the assignment that Henrik gave me. I’m informing you of this now so that you won’t count on me being on the board before
Martin Vanger teetered back and forth for a bit.
“I see. You think I want to get rid of you.” He paused. “Mikael, we’ll have to talk about this later. I don’t really have time to devote to my hobby on Millennium’s board, and I wish I’d never agreed to Henrik’s proposal. But believe me—I’m going to do my best to make sure that Millennium survives.”
“I’ve never had any doubt about that,” Blomkvist said.
“If we make an appointment for sometime next week we can go over the finances and I can give you my
views on the matter. But my basic attitude is that Millennium cannot actually afford to have one of its key people sitting up here on Hedeby Island twiddling his thumbs. I like the magazine and I think we can make
it stronger together, but you’re crucial to that task. I’ve wound up in a conflict of loyalties here. Either I follow Henrik’s wishes or carry out my job on Millennium’s board.”
Blomkvist changed into his tracksuit and went for a run out to the Fortress and down to Gottfried’s cabin
before he headed home at a slower pace along the water. Frode was sitting at the garden table. He waited
patiently as Mikael drank a bottle of water and towelled the sweat from his face.
“That doesn’t look so healthy in this heat.”
“Oh, come on,” Blomkvist said.
“I was wrong. Cecilia isn’t the main person who’s after Martin. It’s Isabella. She’s busy mobilising the
Vanger clan to tar and feather you and possibly burn you at the stake too. She’s being backed up by Birger.”
“She’s a malicious, petty woman who doesn’t like other people in general. Right now it seems that she
detests you in particular. She’s spreading stories that you’re a swindler who duped Henrik into hiring you, and that you got him so worked up that he had a heart attack.”
“I hope no-one believes that?”
“There’s always someone willing to believe malicious rumours.”
“I’m trying to work out what happened to her daughter—and she hates me. If Harriet were my daughter,
I would have reacted a bit differently.”
At 2:00 in the afternoon, his mobile rang.
“Hello, my name is Conny Torsson and I work at the Hedestad Courier. Do you have time to answer a
few questions? We got a tip that you’re living here in Hedeby.”
“Well, Herr Torsson, your tip machine is a little slow. I’ve been living here since the first of the year.”
“I didn’t know that. What are you doing in Hedestad?”
“Writing. And taking a sort of sabbatical.”
“What are you working on?”
“You’ll find out when I publish it.”
“You were just released from prison . . .”
“Do you have a view on journalists who falsify material?”
“Journalists who falsify material are idiots.”
“So in your opinion you’re an idiot?”
“Why should I think that? I’ve never falsified material.”
“But you were convicted of libel.”
Torsson hesitated long enough that Blomkvist had to give him a push.
“I was convicted of libel, not of falsifying material.”
“But you published the material.”
“If you’re calling to discuss the judgement against me, I have no comment.”
“I’d like to come out and do an interview with you.”
“I have nothing to say to you on this topic.”
“So you don’t want to discuss the trial?”
“That’s correct,” he said, and hung up. He sat thinking for a long time before he went back to his computer.
Salander followed the instructions she had received and drove her Kawasaki across the bridge to Hedeby
Island. She stopped at the first little house on the left. She was really out in the sticks. But as long as her employer was paying, she did not mind if she went to the North Pole. Besides, it was great to give her
bike its head on a long ride up the E4. She put the bike on its stand and loosened the strap that held her overnight duffel bag in place.
Blomkvist opened the door and waved to her. He came out and inspected her motorcycle with obvious
He whistled. “You’re riding a motorbike!”
Salander said nothing, but she watched him intently as he touched the handlebars and tried the accelerator. She did not like anyone touching her stuff. Then she saw his childlike, boyish smile, which
she took for a redeeming feature. Most people who were into motorcycles usually laughed at her lightweight bike.
“I had a motorbike when I was nineteen,” he said, turning to her. “Thanks for coming up. Come in and
let’s get you settled.”
He had borrowed a camp bed from the Nilssons. Salander took a tour around the cabin, looking suspicious, but she seemed to relax when she could find no immediate signs of any insidious trap. He showed her where the bathroom was.
“In case you want to take a shower and freshen up.”
“I have to change. I am not going to wander around in my leathers.”
“OK, while you change I’ll make dinner.”
He sautéed lamb chops in red wine sauce and set the table outdoors in the afternoon sun while Salander
showered and changed. She came out barefoot wearing a black camisole and a short, worn denim skirt.
The food smelled good, and she put away two stout helpings. Fascinated, Blomkvist sneaked a look at the
tattoos on her back.
“Five plus three,” Salander said. “Five cases from your Harriet’s list and three cases that I think should have been on the list.”
“I’ve only been on this for eleven days, and I haven’t had a chance to dig up all the reports. In some
cases the police reports had been put in the national archive, and in others they’re still stored in the local police district. I made three day trips to different police districts, but I didn’t have time to get to all of them. The five are identified.”
Salander put a solid heap of paper on the kitchen table, around 500 pages. She quickly sorted the material into different stacks.
“Let’s take them in chronological order.” She handed Blomkvist a list.
1949—REBECKA JACOBSSON, Hedestad (30112)
1954—MARI HOLMBERG, Kalmar (32018)
1957—RAKEL LUNDE, Landskrona (32027)
1960—(MAGDA) LOVISA SJÖBERG, Karlstad (32016)
1960—LIV GUSTAVSSON, Stockholm (32016)
1962—LEA PERSSON, Uddevalla (31208)
1964—SARA WITT, Ronneby (32109)
1966—LENA ANDERSSON, Uppsala (30112)
“The first case in this series is Rebecka Jacobsson, 1949, the details of which you already know. The
next case I found was Mari Holmberg, a thirty-two-year-old prostitute in Kalmar who was murdered in
her apartment in October 1954. It’s not clear exactly when she was killed, since her body wasn’t found
right away, probably nine or ten days later.”
“And how do you connect her to Harriet’s list?”
“She was tied up and badly abused, but the cause of death was strangulation. She had a sanitary towel
down her throat.”
Blomkvist sat in silence for a moment before he looked up the verse that was 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 their people.”
“Harriet Vanger made the same connection. OK. Next?”
“May 1957, Rakel Lunde, forty-five. She worked as a cleaning woman and was a bit of a happy eccentric in the village. She was a fortune-teller and her hobby was doing Tarot readings, palms, et cetera. She lived outside Landskrona in a house a long way from anywhere, and she was murdered there
some time early in the morning. She was found naked and tied to a laundry-drying frame in her back garden, with her mouth taped shut. Cause of death was a heavy rock being repeatedly thrown at her. She
had countless contusions and fractures.”
“Jesus Christ. Lisbeth, this is fucking disgusting.”
“It gets worse. The initials R.L. are correct—you found the Bible quote?”
“Overly explicit. 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.”
“Then there’s Sjöberg in Ranmo outside Karlstad. She’s the one Harriet listed as Magda. Her full name
was Magda Lovisa, but people called her Lovisa.”
Blomkvist listened while Salander recounted the bizarre details of the Karlstad murder. When she lit a
cigarette he pointed at the pack, and she pushed it over to him.
“So the killer attacked the animal too?”
“The Leviticus verse says that if a woman has sex with an animal, both must be killed.”
“The likelihood of this woman having sex with a cow must be . . . well, non-existent.”
“The verse can be read literally. It’s enough that she ‘approaches’ the animal, which a farmer’s wife
would undeniably do every day.”
“The next case on Harriet’s list is Sara. I’ve identified her as Sara Witt, thirty-seven, living in Ronneby. She was murdered in January 1964, found tied to her bed, subjected to aggravated sexual assault, but the cause of death was asphyxiation; she was strangled. The killer also started a fire, with the probable intention of burning the whole house down to the ground, but part of the fire went out by itself, and the rest was taken care of by the fire service, who were there in a very short time.”
“And the connection?”
“Listen to this. Sara Witt was both the daughter of a pastor and married to a pastor. Her husband was
away that weekend.”
“And the daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by playing the harlot, profanes her father;
she shall be burned with fire. OK. That fits on the list. You said you’d found more cases.”
“I’ve found three other women who were murdered under such similarly strange circumstances and they could have been on Harriet’s list. The first is a young woman named Liv Gustavsson. She was twenty-two and lived in Farsta. She was a horse-loving girl—she rode in competitions and was quite a
promising talent. She also owned a small pet shop with her sister. She was found in the shop. She had worked late on the bookkeeping and was there alone. She must have let the killer in voluntarily. She was
raped and strangled to death.”
“That doesn’t sound quite like Harriet’s list, does it?”
“Not exactly, if it weren’t for one thing. The killer concluded his barbarities by shoving a parakeet up
her vagina and then let all the animals out into the shop. Cats, turtles, white mice, rabbits, birds. Even the fish in the aquarium. So it was quite an appalling scene her sister encountered in the morning.”
Blomkvist made a note.
“She was murdered in August 1960, four months after the murder of the farmer’s wife Magda Lovisa in
Karlstad. In both instances they were women who worked professionally with animals, and in both cases
there was an animal sacrifice. The cow in Karlstad may have survived—but I can imagine it would be difficult to stab a cow to death with a knife. A parakeet is more straightforward. And besides, there was
an additional animal sacrifice.”
Salander told the story of the “pigeon murder” of Lea Persson. Blomkvist sat for so long in silence and
in thought that even Salander grew impatient.
“I’ll buy your theory,” he said at last. “There’s one case left.”
“A case that I discovered by chance. I don’t know how many I may have missed.”
“Tell me about it.”
“February 1966 in Uppsala. The victim was a seventeen-year-old gymnast called Lena Andersson. She
disappeared after a class party and was found three days later in a ditch on the Uppsala plain, quite a way out of town. She had been murdered somewhere else and her body dumped there. This murder got a lot of
attention in the media, but the true circumstances surrounding her death were never reported. The girl had been grotesquely tortured. I read the pathologist’s report. She was tortured with fire. Her hands and breasts were atrociously burned, and she had been burned repeatedly at various spots all over her body.
They found paraffin stains on her, which showed that candles had been used, but her hands were so charred that they must have been held over a more powerful fire. Finally, the killer sawed off her head
and tossed it next to the body.”
Blomkvist blanched. “Good Lord,” he said.
“I can’t find any Bible quote that fits, but there are several passages that deal with a fire offering and a sin offering, and in some places it’s recommended that the sacrificial animal—most often a bull—be cut
up in such a way that the head is severed from the fat. Fire also reminds me of the first murder, of Rebecka here in Hedestad.”
Towards evening when the mosquitoes began to swarm they cleared off the garden table and moved to the
kitchen to go on with their talk.
“The fact that you didn’t find an exact Bible quotation doesn’t mean much. It’s not a matter of quotations. This is a grotesque parody of what is written in the Bible—it’s more like associations to quotations pulled out of context.”
“I agree. It isn’t even logical. Take for example the quote that both have to be cut off from their people if someone has sex with a girl who’s having her period. If that’s interpreted literally, the killer should have committed suicide.”
“So where does all this lead?” Blomkvist wondered aloud.
“Your Harriet either had quite a strange hobby or else she must have known that there was a connection
between the murders.”
“Between 1949 and 1966, and maybe before and after as well. The idea that an insanely sick sadistic
serial killer was slaughtering women for at least seventeen years without anyone seeing a connection sounds utterly unbelievable to me.”
Salander pushed back her chair and poured more coffee from the pot on the stove. She lit a cigarette.
Mikael cursed himself and stole another from her.
“No, it’s not so unbelievable,” she said, holding up one finger. “We have several dozen unsolved murders of women in Sweden during the twentieth century. That professor of criminology, Persson, said
once on TV that serial killers are very rare in Sweden, but that probably we have had some that were never caught.”
She held up another finger.
“These murders were committed over a very long period of time and all over the country. Two occurred close together in 1960, but the circumstances were quite different—a farmer’s wife in Karlstad
and a twenty-two-year-old in Stockholm.”
“There is no immediately apparent pattern. The murders were carried out at different places and there
is no real signature, but there are certain things that do recur. Animals. Fire. Aggravated sexual assault.
And, as you pointed out, a parody of Biblical quotations. But it seems that not one of the investigating detectives interpreted any of the murders in terms of the Bible.”
Blomkvist was watching her. With her slender body, her black camisole, the tattoos, and the rings piercing her face, Salander looked out of place, to say the least, in a guest cottage in Hedeby. When he
tried to be sociable over dinner, she was taciturn to the point of rudeness. But when she was working she
sounded like a professional to her fingertips. Her apartment in Stockholm might look as if a bomb had gone off in it, but mentally Salander was extremely well organised.
“It’s hard to see the connection between a prostitute in Uddevalla who’s killed in an industrial yard and
a pastor’s wife who is strangled in Ronneby and has her house set on fire. If you don’t have the key that
Harriet gave us, that is.”
“Which leads to the next question,” Salander said.
“How on earth did Harriet get mixed up in all this? A sixteen-year-old girl who lived in a really sheltered environment.”
“There’s only one answer,” Salander said. “There must be some connection to the Vanger family.”
By 11:00 that night they had gone over the series of murders and discussed the conceivable connections
and the tiny details of similarity and difference so often that Blomkvist’s head was spinning. He rubbed
his eyes and stretched and asked Salander if she felt like a walk. Her expression suggested that she thought such practices were a waste of time, but she agreed. Blomkvist advised her to change into long
trousers because of the mosquitoes.
They strolled past the small-boat harbour and then under the bridge and out towards Martin Vanger’s
point. Blomkvist pointed out the various houses and told her about the people who lived in them. He had
some difficulty when they came to Cecilia Vanger’s house. Salander gave him a curious look.
They passed Martin Vanger’s motor yacht and reached the point, and there they sat on a rock and shared
“There’s one more connection,” Blomkvist said suddenly. “Maybe you’ve already thought of it.”
Salander thought for a moment and shook her head.
“They’re all Biblical names.”
“Not true,” she said. “Where is there a Liv or Lena in the Bible?”
“They are there. Liv means to live, in other words Eva. And come on—what’s Lena short for?”
Salander grimaced in annoyance. He had been quicker than she was. She did not like that.
“Magdalena,” she said.
“The whore, the first woman, the Virgin Mary . . . they’re all there in this group. This is so freaky it’d make a psychologist’s head spin. But there’s something else I thought of with regard to the names.”
Salander waited patiently.
“They’re obviously all traditional Jewish names. The Vanger family has had more than its share of fanatical anti-Semites, Nazis, and conspiracy theorists. The only time I met Harald Vanger he was standing in the road snarling that his own daughter was a whore. He certainly has problems with women.”
When they got back to the cabin they made a midnight snack and heated up the coffee. Mikael took a look
at the almost 500 pages that Dragan Armansky’s favourite researcher had produced for him.
“You’ve done a fantastic job of digging up these facts in such a short time,” he said. “Thanks. And thanks also for being nice enough to come up here and report on it.”
“What happens now?” Salander wanted to know.
“I’m going to talk to Dirch Frode tomorrow and arrange for your fee to be paid.”
“That wasn’t what I meant.”
Blomkvist looked at her.
“Well . . . I reckon the job I hired you for is done,” he said.
“I’m not done with this.”
Blomkvist leaned back against the kitchen wall and met her gaze. He couldn’t read anything at all in her
eyes. For half a year he had been working alone on Harriet’s disappearance, and here was another person
—an experienced researcher—who grasped the implications. He made the decision on impulse.
“I know. This story has got under my skin too. I’ll talk to Frode. We’ll hire you for a week or two more
as . . . a research assistant. I don’t know if he’ll want to pay the same rate he pays to Armansky, but we should be able to arrange a basic living wage for you.”
Salander suddenly gave him a smile. She had no wish to be shut out and would have gladly done the
job for free.
“I’m falling asleep,” she said, and without further ado she went to her room and closed the door.
Two minutes later she opened the door and put out her head.
“I think you’re wrong. It’s not an insane serial killer who read his Bible wrong. It’s just a common or
garden bastard who hates women.”
Thursday, July 3–
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