The Girl Who Played With Fire Summary

Synopsis

The Girl Who Played With Fire is the second novel in Stieg Larsson’s bestselling trilogy, the Millennium series. This novel was published posthumously in Swedish in 2006 and in English three years later. Like the first book in the series, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the novel’s popularity started in Europe before extending to the United States. Larsson was a journalist who spent his life speaking for equality and against right-wing extremism, and he became one of the world’s experts on the subject.

Like the first book in the series, this novel deals with dark elements of society, in particular the sex trade industry. The “Girl” in all three titles is Lisbeth Salander. She loves journalist Mikael Blomkvist but spends most of this novel running away from him. When she becomes the primary suspect in a triple homicide, Blomkvist is certain she is innocent and works tirelessly to clear her name. In doing so, he discovers the past she has tried so hard to hide, including abuse, institutionalization, and trauma from a system that should have protected her.

Blomkvist and Salander reunite at the end of the novel and will work together again in the third book in the series, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Larsson builds suspense through the use of flashbacks and partial revelations, which are typical of a mystery/detective novel.

Salander and Blomkvist are memorable characters, and through them Larsson reveals the intricacies of a computer genius (Salander) and a driven investigative journalist (Blomkvist). Readers also discover the intensity of publishing a serial magazine and the inner workings of a police investigation through realistic characters such as Editor Erika Berger and Officer Jan Bublanski.

Larsson includes several stereotyped characters. These include the incredibly huge Ronald Niedermann, who is incapable of feeling pain, and his boss, Alexander Zalachenko, a Russian double agent and the apparent head of the Swedish sex trade industry. With few exceptions, the protagonists in this novel are purely evil while the primary characters are more complex in their morality.

The Girl Who Played With Fire won the Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy Award for Best Swedish Crime Novel, and the trilogy has sold more than sixty million copies in five years and in more than fifty countries. Although Larsson wrote many other novels, this series serves as his legacy. And although the books in the series were written as detective stories, Larsson is unflinching in his denunciation of corruption in societal structures. The Girl Who Played With Fire is primarily an exposé of the corruption in social and criminal institutions, particularly as it affects the most helpless members of society, as demonstrated by Salander’s horrific experiences. All three novels in the Millennium series have been adapted into films.

The Girl Who Played With Fire Summary

Stieg Larsson’s The Girl Who Played With Fire is the second novel in his bestselling Millennium trilogy. It follows Lisbeth Salander as she tries to put to rest her harrowing experiences from the trilogy’s first novel, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Part 1: Irregular Equations

Lisbeth Salander, the protagonist of the series, basks in the sun of Grenada after spending a year traveling the world. Because of her uncanny research and hacking skills, Salander is independently wealthy and does not need to work, but she has grown restless after being away from her native Sweden for so long. Mathematics have always peaked Salander’s interest, so she has spent much of her time on the island studying Dimensions in Mathematics while she keeps an eye on her hotel neighbors, namely a married couple that has violent arguments each night. Because Salander is a crusader against men who mistreat women, she cannot ignore the bruises on Mrs. Forbes’s face or her passivity.

When a “convenient” hurricane barrels down on Grenada one night, it allows Salander the opportunity to save Mrs. Forbes as her husband attacks her on the beach. Just as Dr. Forbes is about to strangle the life out of his wife, Salander hits him over the head and drags Mrs. Forbes to safety. She discovers the next morning that local authorities have found the doctor’s body swept up on the beach and have attributed his death to the hurricane. Soon afterward, Salander decides it is time to return to Sweden.

In the year Salander has spent traveling in Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean, her court-appointed guardian in Sweden, Nils Bjurman, has been plotting his revenge against his wayward ward. In The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, after Bjurman was assigned to handle the affairs of the supposedly mentally unstable Salander, he abused his power and raped her. Although the diminutive Salander looks like a defenseless teenager, Bjurman chose the wrong person to abuse because Salander not only recorded the rape and uses the recording to control him; she also broke into his apartment one night, handcuffed him, and crudely tattooed “I am a sadistic pig, a pervert, and a rapist” just below his navel. Bjurman is trapped by Salander, who seems to be ubiquitous and tracks his every move. But he is determined to use his connections in the government to access and expose files about Salander to get revenge.

Part 2: From Russia With Love

Salander returns to Sweden without anyone’s knowledge. Her computer hacking skills provide her with vast freedom and multiple identities, so she enters the country and proceeds to buy an apartment in an elite part of Stockholm. Then she goes on an IKEA shopping spree.

As she re-establishes her life in Sweden, Salander begins to visit the people she had left behind without a word over a year ago. Her first call is to Miriam Wu (Mimmi), who is Salander’s friend and occasional lover. After Mimmi gets over being miffed at Salander for her year-long absence, she agrees to move into Salander’s old apartment even though Lisbeth will not tell Mimmi where she is currently living or what kind of work she does.

Next, Salander pays a visit to her former employer, Armansky, at Milton Security. The firm specializes in investigations, research, and physical security for individuals and organizations. Like Mimmi, Armansky is not exactly thrilled to see Salander but does inform her that her former guardian, Holger Palmgren (who is like a father to her), is recovering from a massive stroke he suffered almost two years ago. Salander is shocked that Palmgren is still alive because she found him right after he suffered the stroke and was told by doctors that he had virtually no chance of surviving.

Guilt sets in as she drives out to visit Palmgren, but she feels encouraged when she sees him. She persuades his doctor to provide him with a personal therapist so that his speech and physical therapy can progress more rapidly. Of all of Lisbeth’s acquaintances, Palmgren knows the most about her and is the only person who elicits trust from her.

In the trilogy’s first novel, Salander met free-living journalist Mikael Blomkvist, became involved in a deadly quest for the truth, saved his life, and lost her heart to him. For the past two years, Blomkvist has tried to reconnect with Salander, but she has snubbed his attempts to communicate with her. He has continued working at the renegade publishing company/magazine Millennium and is about to become involved in another high-risk exposé involving the sex trade in Sweden.

A freelance journalist, Dag Svensson, and his criminologist girlfriend, Mia Johansson, have come to Millennium with an article and book on the illegal sexual activities of Swedish government officials and police officers. They appreciate Blomkvist and the magazine’s reputation for taking on troubling topics. Blomkvist agrees to work with Svensson on rechecking all his sources and preparing the article and book for publication. While all parties involved understand the inherent risk associated with the exposé, none of them knows the research will be deadly.

As Blomkvist begins working with Svensson and Johansson on their investigation, Lisbeth follows their activities without their knowledge. Over a year ago, when Lisbeth was working with Blomkvist, she hacked into his computers so she could access them undetected at any time. As she learns more about what Blomkvist is working on, she realizes that she is connected to his research through the name Zala—a mysterious puppet master behind much of the sex trade activities Svensson and Johansson are investigating.

Part 3: Absurd Equations

Blomkvist has possession of Lisbeth’s handbag because he tried to save her from an attack he witnessed outside her old apartment. He does not know that Bjurman, Lisbeth’s guardian, ordered the attack. Blomkvist uses the handbag to try once again to contact Lisbeth. He sends her a letter but receives no response. He finds nothing of significance in the purse, but it will later help him locate Lisbeth.

After the attempt on her life, Lisbeth decides to involve herself more in Svensson and Johansson’s research. She stops by their apartment late one night over a holiday weekend, and they allow her to come in even though they have never met her and know nothing about her. Lisbeth asks them what they have found out about Zala and what they plan to do with the information.

Later that evening, Blomkvist receives a call from Svensson asking if he can stop by to pick up some of his writing for editorial purposes. Blomkvist agrees to do so, but when he arrives at Svensson’s apartment, he stumbles upon a gruesome murder scene—Svensson and Johansson have both been...

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The Girl Who Played With Fire Chapter Summaries

Chapter 1 Summary

Prologue

She has been imprisoned for forty-three days, strapped to a narrow metal bed. She is not particularly afraid, but she does feel “a great, pent-up rage.” When she does feel fear, she finds strength in visualizing ways to feel powerful, such as burning him alive in his car. She dozes off but wakes when he enters the room. He is tall, with tangled reddish-brown hair and a thin goatee; he wears glasses with black frames. She does not know how old he is. She hates his smell, his voice, his silence, his touch. He is annoyed when she does not respond to him, and he tightens all her straps. She tries to kick him, but he is prepared: the blow is ineffectual. It is her thirteenth birthday, and she is...

(The entire section is 886 words.)

Chapter 2 Summary

Friday, December 17

Advokat Nils Erik Bjurman is thinking about Lisbeth Salander, as he often does, and he is angry. The young girl “crushed him”; he will never forget—or forgive. She abused him in his own home and then humiliated him by tattooing his entire chest with damning words: “I AM A SADISTIC PIG, A PERVERT, AND A RAPIST.”

The fifty-five-year-old lawyer knows what he did to Salander was wrong by anyone’s standards, and as he is her guardian, it was reprehensible. He had been tormented by thoughts of her since he had met her two years earlier. When the waiflike girl in her mid-twenties had been deemed legally incompetent by the courts, he had assumed complete control over her...

(The entire section is 953 words.)

Chapter 3 Summary

Friday, December 17–Saturday, December 18

Salander wakes early and rents a dune buggy for the day from Freddy McBain at the front desk. At breakfast she works on Fermat’s proof until Dr. Forbes arrives, cleanly shaved and professionally dressed. He eats breakfast alone and then leaves in a taxi at 8:30. Salander follows him.

Forbes exits the taxi and walks the beach. For four hours, she follows him as he walks up and down the streets of St. George; though he walks at a leisurely pace, she struggles to keep up with him. He enters the Turtleback restaurant and sits on the veranda with a soda, as he had done the day before. The only patron in a suit, he seems untroubled by the heat. He sits until...

(The entire section is 906 words.)

Chapter 4 Summary

Monday, January 10–Tuesday, January 11

Exhausted, Salander lands in Stockholm at noon, carrying a bag that contains only her computer, the Dimensions textbook, and a change of clothes. It is bitterly cold; she splurges for a taxi, remembering she has in the bank billions of kroner, stolen from Wennerstrom. She gives the driver her old address, forgetting that she has moved. Before she goes to her new apartment, she stops at a convenience store to buy a few essentials and hopes she will not run into Mikael Blomkvist. Inside her building, she goes to the top floor and enters a door with “V. Kulla” on the nameplate.

When she got the money, her first major investment was an apartment....

(The entire section is 870 words.)

Chapter 5 Summary

Wednesday, January 12–Friday, January 14

It is odd for Salander to return to the nursing home where her mother spent the last ten years of her life before dying at age forty-six. Her mother suffered a series of cerebral strokes years before when Salander was twelve years old; from the age of fifteen, Salander had visited her mother twice a year. The box of her mother’s belongings weighs only five or six pounds, not much for an entire life. She used to wish her mother would recover, and they would be reunited; the truth was that her mother rarely even recognized Salander when she came to visit.

Her mother had been short and thin, but Salander is a waif in comparison. Salander was born first, but...

(The entire section is 740 words.)

Chapter 6 Summary

Sunday, January 23–Saturday, January 29

Knowing the security guards would not be watching this floor at 3:10 a.m., Salander lets herself into the third floor of the Milton Security offices with a card key she made more than a year ago. She is always surprised at how lax security is at this security company. Her bare cubicle is unchanged. Using the same pirated card key, she enters Armansky’s office and installs a program on his computer, a program she wrote that will allow her to copy everything from his hard drive onto a hard drive in Holland, which she can access. He will never know she is watching his computer activity. While she is waiting for the program to install, she looks at the files of the most...

(The entire section is 698 words.)

Chapter 7 Summary

Saturday, January 29–Sunday, February 13

Svavelsjo Motorcycle Club is an old building about five hundred feet outside of a small village. A car driven by a large man with blond hair pulls up and stops; the driver takes a black sports bag from the trunk. He is unafraid of being seen, although he does not want to go inside the building which has been raided by the police several times. Carl-Magnus Lundin (Magge), the club’s president, comes out to greet the visitor. Lundin has a police record for several crimes, including one which put him in prison for a year. The huge blond man is here to do business.

Lundin likes doing business with his visitor because the man is straightforward in his...

(The entire section is 668 words.)

Chapter 8 Summary

Monday, February 14–Saturday, February 19

One evening, Salander goes to visit Armansky at work. He is surprised to see her after more than a year, and his surprise soon turns to annoyance as she remains uncommunicative. Realizing she owes him some explanation since she left without saying good-bye, Salander tells him she spent most of the last year out of the country traveling. Even knowing she does not owe him any more information, Armansky remains annoyed with her; he accuses her of abandoning her former guardian and friend, Holger Palmgren.

Salander is shocked to learn that Palmgren is alive. She was the one who found him after his stroke and sat with him for three days in the hospital where...

(The entire section is 873 words.)

Chapter 9 Summary

Sunday, March 6–Friday, March 11

Dr. Sivarnandan is always surprised to see Salander spend most of her Sundays with Holmgren. They spend several hours playing chess, and she never treats the older man as an invalid; instead, they seem to squabble quite regularly and comfortably. The doctor does not understand the peculiar young woman who seems so suspicious and humorless and secretive. She created a non-profit foundation with 2.5 million kroner dedicated solely to the care of Palmgren. Although the doctor pondered the ethics of this arrangement, he determined it is odd but acceptable; consequently, he hired Karolina Oskarsson, an experienced therapist, to work with Palmgren. Her first-month's salary was paid...

(The entire section is 903 words.)

Chapter 10 Summary

Monday, March 14–Sunday, March 20

Her journeys to visit Palmgren are time-consuming and inconvenient, so Salander buys a car. She does not want to connect her car to her new apartment, so she asks Mimmi to procure the next available garage at the old apartment. Though she can afford a luxury car, she buys a four-year-old Honda. She pays in cash and gives Mimmi a set of keys.

Before going home, Salander stops at a cafe. She recognizes Bjurman and immediately moves so that she can study him unseen. Bjurman arouses no emotion in her. He is alive only because he is useful to her, though she believes the world would be a better place without him. The blond man with him is at least six-foot-six,...

(The entire section is 890 words.)

Chapter 11 Summary

Wednesday, March 23–Maundy Thursday, March 24

The week before Easter the Millennium staff is on vacation; Blomkvist is alone in the office, editing Svensson’s book. Fifteen years younger than Blomkvist, Svensson has the same passion Blomkvist once had when he published his exposé on second-rate financial journalists. That book made a lot of enemies; Svensson’s will do the same. The younger man is an effective writer, and most of Blomkvist’s editing has been requests for clarification and documentation. He will not publish the book until every allegation and assertion has been substantiated.

Svensson will submit the final three chapters in the morning, and next Tuesday everyone...

(The entire section is 890 words.)

Chapter 12 Summary

Maundy Thursday, March 24

Annika and Blomkvist arrive near Berger’s home. Blomkvist convinces his exhausted sister to let him take a taxi the rest of the way so that she can go home. It has been several years since he has been to Berger’s home, and he has only been there a couple of times. Berger and Blomkvist’s twenty-year relationship has not significantly changed, even with her marriage to Beckman. Early in their relationship, after Berger confessed her affair with Blomkvist, Beckman paid Blomkvist a visit. They got drunk together, and Beckman made the situation simple: As long as the relationship was based on physical desire and Blomkvist did not try to break up the marriage, Beckman was satisfied...

(The entire section is 659 words.)

Chapter 13 Summary

Maundy Thursday, March 24

Prosecutor Richard Ekstrom is in charge of the double homicide. He receives the case early on Maundy Thursday, as the night prosecutor and the assistant county chief of police recognize the potential media sensation this might become and want the case to go to the most experienced and diligent prosecutor. Ekstrom is a diminutive man who is not afraid to do what is necessary despite external pressure or influence; he has successfully prosecuted several high-profile cases and is often considered for political office, though he is uninterested in politics. He will do what must be done to get a case to trial.

After he is briefed on the case by the criminal duty officer,...

(The entire section is 877 words.)

Chapter 14 Summary

Maundy Thursday, March 24

Modig keeps trying to reach Bjurman. She calls his apartment and his cell phone and visits every neighbor who is home. She finally leaves a message on his answering machine and places a note on his door, asking him to call her. When some instinct moves Modig to try the door handle, she discovers the door is unlocked and goes into his apartment. One of the first things she sees is an empty Colt Magnum pistol box. She pulls out her revolver, feeling as if something is amiss. She walks through the bedroom door and finds Bjurman, naked and kneeling beside his bed, as if he were saying his prayers. He has been shot through the head, and he is undeniably dead. Modig calls Ekstrom.

...

(The entire section is 852 words.)

Chapter 15 Summary

Maundy Thursday, March 24

Christer Malm has just arrived home after an exhausting and miserable day at Millennium when the phone rings. It is Berger. She tells him Blomkvist’s former researcher is the prime suspect in three murders, and the police are looking for her. A press conference will be held later this evening.

Holmberg, astounded at the amount of blood he finds at the crime scene, agrees that hunting ammunition must have been used. The technical examination has been completed, but now the real investigation begins. It is his job to find clues about the killer and his—or her—possible motive. Holmberg methodically searches the apartment, documenting what he finds and...

(The entire section is 894 words.)

Chapter 16 Summary

Good Friday, March 25–Easter Saturday, March 26

Blomkvist and Eriksson spend eight hours going through every note, email, and document Svensson had gathered; they give extra attention to the manuscript. Saturday morning, Annika visits her brother and shows him the outrageous newspaper headlines regarding the murders. The siblings talk for an hour, Blomkvist explaining why he believes Salander could not be guilty of these crimes. He asks if she will consider representing Salander, since Annika is experienced in cases of violence against women. Salander is his friend and would probably trust his sister more than anyone else. Annika reluctantly agrees to at least talk with the girl.

Modig comes to...

(The entire section is 923 words.)

Chapter 17 Summary

Easter Sunday, March 27–Tuesday, March 29

Armansky spends Easter Sunday writing a report on Salander, just as he would for a client, including everything he knows about her. Blomkvist gets his first phone call from a journalist friend; the fact that Blomkvist found the bodies will soon be public knowledge. The reporter asks, multiple times, if Blomkvist knows why Svensson and Johansson were murdered and what story Svensson was working on that may have gotten him killed. As Blomkvist evades the questions, he has a sudden inspiration about how he can communicate with Salander.

Salander is probably reading the newspapers, so he has a chance to send her a message. If he denies knowing her, she is...

(The entire section is 885 words.)

Chapter 18 Summary

Tuesday, March 29–Wednesday, March 30

Three investigations are taking place. Bublanski and his team are searching for the one likely suspect connected to all three murders: Lisbeth Salander. Armansky’s team is conducting an investigation subordinate to the police, looking specifically for some mitigating circumstance for Salander’s alleged actions. The Millennium investigation is the most difficult because it lacks the resources of the other two; however, Blomkvist is determined to discover the killer, for he does not believe it was Salander, or if it was, something happened beyond her control.

Hedstrom and Bohman are on their way to join the police investigation. Bohman is rereading...

(The entire section is 911 words.)

Chapter 19 Summary

Wednesday, March 30–Friday, April 1

Blomkvist begins his search for Zala by looking through Svensson’s files, just as Salander had. The one police contact Svensson mentions is out of town and cannot be reached. Svensson had obviously linked Irina P.’s slow, cruel death to Zala, but he gave no documentation for it. In fact, Zala is only mentioned in working notes and appears to be more like a phantom in the criminal world. He does not seem entirely credible, and there is virtually no reference to him anywhere else.

Blomkvist is still uncertain about Salander, given all the new information he has learned; however, he intends to follow his instinct. He knows she stole billions from Wennerstrom,...

(The entire section is 878 words.)

Chapter 20 Summary

Friday, April 1–Sunday, April 3

Bublanski returns to the interview room and apologizes to Wu. With the tape recorder off, Bublanski tells Wu he is getting opinions about Salander. Wu answers his questions, assuring him Salander is extremely intelligent, is not a prostitute, and has never shown violent tendencies. Later, Bublanski meets with his team and announces they need to expand their investigation to include other possible suspects. Modig is the only one who agrees with this assessment. Modig and Hedstrom are now in charge of looking for alternative killers. Bublanski does not want Wu’s arrival to be publicized.

Hedstrom is frustrated. In a meeting with Armansky that morning, he learned the...

(The entire section is 913 words.)

Chapter 21 Summary

Maundy Thursday, March 24–Monday, April 4

Salander spends the week after the murders sequestered in her apartment. She is astonished at what she sees on the television. Her passport photo makes her look stupid, and she realizes she has become one of the most famous and infamous people in the country. She is appalled that so much of her documented past now seems accessible to anyone who asks for it. One particular report “awakens buried memories.” She was arrested for assault, for kicking a passenger in the face, at a train station.

An unemployed former athlete, Karl Evert Norgren, sexually assaulted her on the train, and she defended herself with considerable force. She was arrested when she...

(The entire section is 898 words.)

Chapter 22 Summary

Tuesday, March 29–Sunday, April 3

Salander accesses the criminal register but does not find Alexander Zalachenko’s name there. She is not surprised, as he has never been convicted of a crime in Sweden and is not even in the national database. She asks Plague, the only computer hacker she knows who can do the job, to access Ekstrom’s computer. He does so in an astonishingly short time, and she pays him well. He does not think Salander committed the murders.

Within an hour, she reads every report Bublanski has sent to the prosecutor and learns several important things. First, Armansky has loaned two employees to the police investigation team. Bohman had always been decent to her, but Hedstrom is...

(The entire section is 782 words.)

Chapter 23 Summary

Sunday, April 3–Monday, April 4

Blomkvist likes Roberto. The boxer believes Salander is innocent and wants to help prove it. Blomkvist explains two things that might help: finding another suspect or finding Salander. Blomkvist gives him Wu’s number and suggests he might be able to talk to her because of her interest in kickboxing. She may have an idea where to find Salander.

Bjorck spends the weekend assessing his limited options. He despises Blomkvist but knows his fate is in the journalist’s hands. Blomkvist desperately wants information on Zala, and Bjorck desperately wants Blomkvist to keep his sex crimes from being published. Both Svensson and Bjurman were hunting Zala, so Zala is a clue...

(The entire section is 915 words.)

Chapter 24 Summary

Monday, April 4–Tuesday, April 5

Sandstrom gets home late, a little drunk and feeling quite panicked. It has been almost two weeks since Svensson was killed. He hated Svensson and had literally begged Svensson to keep him out of the book. When Salander became the primary suspect, Sandstrom’s panic subsided, but only temporarily. He does not know who has access to Svensson’s book or whether the police are going to show up and end his career. As he walks into his apartment, he hears a rustling and feels a paralyzing pain in his back.

Bjorck is awake and still worried at midnight when the phone begins ringing. He finally answers it. Blomkvist tells him he will hold a press conference in the...

(The entire section is 904 words.)

Chapter 25 Summary

Tuesday, April 5–Wednesday, April 6

Roberto is so lost in thought that he almost misses Wu approaching her building. As he watches, a dark-colored van pulls up next to her and a “devilishly huge beast” jumps out and grabs her. Roberto is horrified as he watches the woman struggle. She kicks the giant and it should have been an effective blow, but the man is unmoved. He slaps her hard enough that she falls to the ground, then he picks her up and heaves her into the van. As the vehicle takes off, Roberto finally unfreezes and gathers himself enough to follow. Inside the vehicle, Wu’s lip is bleeding and her nose is broken. She tries again to attack the giant blond man, but he is unmovable. He sits on her...

(The entire section is 902 words.)

Chapter 26 Summary

Wednesday, April 6

Bublanski and Modig meet Blomkvist at the hospital. They learn that Wu was kidnapped and that Roberto beat up the kidnapper (though the boxer looks more like he lost the fight). Roberto explains he got involved because he is Salander’s friend and they used to be sparring partners. Bublanski cannot believe how much more complicated this case is becoming.

Blomkvist says the man who attacked Salander also had a ponytail, so these men have been looking for Salander since before the murders. Svensson had documented the murder of a prostitute who was severely beaten by the kinds of blows Roberto and Wu received from the blond giant. Blomkvist is convinced a man named Zala is...

(The entire section is 911 words.)

Chapter 27 Summary

Wednesday, April 6

Bjorck greets Blomkvist when he arrives and looks pleased with himself. Blomkvist does not shake hands with him, and they make their arrangement quickly. Bjorck will talk if Blomkvist will not write about him in Millennium; Blomkvist agrees as long as Bjorck tells him everything. The journalist knows he is giving up nothing, for it is Svensson’s work that will be published and not in the magazine. If Bjorck withholds information, Blomkvist threatens to expose him worldwide, just like Wennerstrom. Bjorck agrees to tell him who Zala is.

Reports of a shot fired at Bjurman’s cabin create a stir, and Bublanski is contacted. He sends a team to the site, including Holmberg,...

(The entire section is 903 words.)

Chapter 28 Summary

Wednesday, April 6

Armansky is devastated at the revelation about Hedstrom. Salander once told him to fire Hedstrom but would not say why. Holmberg calls to let Bublanski know that a second body was found in one of the crude graves. Salander is not a suspect in these apparent murders.

Salander must have gotten the key to Bjurman’s cabin when she broke into his apartment, but the only thing of any interest is several boxes of documents. Bjurman apparently conducted his own investigation of Salander. Several files are missing, so she may have taken them either to hide something she found or to discover something new. Bublanski wonders why her guardian compiled such extensive reports and then hid...

(The entire section is 909 words.)

Chapter 29 Summary

Wednesday, April 6–Thursday, April 7

Salander thought there might be a mention in the media of the incident at Bjurman’s cabin, but she is unprepared for what she sees. Her friend Mimmi was kidnapped and beaten badly enough to be in the hospital in serious condition. Salander’s friend and professional boxer Roberto rescued Wu, and he looks as if he had “gone ten rounds with his hands tied behind his back.” Two bodies have been discovered in the woods near where Mimmi was held captive; a third grave has been identified and there may be more.

The search for Salander has intensified since she shot and wounded at least one biker, though police concede Salander may have eluded their search....

(The entire section is 894 words.)

Chapter 30 Summary

Thursday, April 7

Salander’s apartment building is one of the most exclusive in Stockholm. As Blomkvist unlocks the door, an alarm sounds. Salander’s PDA alerts her that someone has entered her apartment; she has rigged a fake fuse box near the door so a paint bomb will activate in thirty seconds. Blomkvist panics as he thinks of possible combinations to punch into the security keypad. Finally he spells out the letters W-A-S-P. The alarm stops with six seconds to go.

Salander is stunned when her alarm is deactivated and dials a number on her phone connecting her to her simple surveillance camera. Blomkvist has discovered where she lives. She knows he will protect any secrets he finds there....

(The entire section is 911 words.)

Chapter 31 Summary

Thursday, April 7

Lights are flickering inside the house. Salander is surprised that Zalachenko has settled in such a remote and rustic place, troubled that it appears so undefended; however, she is sure the men are armed. She is uneasy, but she spent the first half of her life living in fear of her father and the second half wondering when and how he would reappear. This time she will not make any mistakes.

Zalachenko is old and crippled but is also a trained assassin. Just then, she sees Niedermann walk past the window to the left of the door, speaking to someone behind him. Salander assesses her options and decides to enter the house. The door is unlocked and she senses something is very wrong....

(The entire section is 912 words.)

Chapter 32 Summary

Thursday, April 7

Blomkvist arrives at Goteborg and rents a car; it is 10:30 before he begins driving to his destination.

Bublanski and Modig review Bjorck’s 1991 report. They agree that Bjorck had Salander sent to an institution because she was trying to protect her mother from a “lunatic sadist” who was working for the government. Teleborian was complicit in the cover-up. They will visit Bjorck in the morning.

Berger finally tells her husband about the job offer; Beckman is proud of her achievement. Armansky is shocked by the story Palmgren tells him. They conclude that Salander has gone to kill her father—and that her father may kill her. Despite their commitment to law and...

(The entire section is 906 words.)