Chapter 10 Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 871

Thursday, January 9–Friday, January 31

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This January is the coldest month in Hedeby on record; temperatures drop to –35° F. Blomkvist’s pipes freeze and he is near tears and ready to take the train and head south, but he stays and begins to develop friendships with people on the island.

He has a moose steak dinner with Martin and his “lady friend,” Eva; she is a lovely woman and a dentist who lives in Hedestad. They are long-time friends who began dating when they were middle-aged and now see no need to marry. She stays with Martin every weekend, but she jokes about not wanting to marry into “this crazy family.” Martin’s joys in life are music and cooking. He is rather reckless as he speaks openly about his company’s business woes and asks how the family chronicle is coming along for Blomkvist. The journalist asks his host for an interview or two; he knows Martin must be aware of his great-uncle’s theories, but Martin says nothing about it.

One afternoon two weeks after he arrived, Cecilia Vanger comes to call on Blomkvist. She is not particularly happy about the book he is writing about her family and has come to see what kind of person he is; she is aware that her family has had more than its share of difficulties. Blomkvist assures her he will confine himself to only that which can be documented. What she really wants to know is if she is going to have to leave the country when the book is published. He tells her he has no intention of writing a book that puts the family in a bad light, though there are certainly negative things that will necessarily be part of the family chronicle.

Cecilia finally asks what she really wants to know: how much of the book will be consumed with Harriet’s disappearance? She suspects the journalist is here to further the investigation her uncle began because all of Henrik’s documents have been delivered to him. They have an off-the-record conversation in which Cecilia says very little about the disappearance other than she has no idea what happened but believes it was an accident with such a simple explanation that everyone will be shocked at the truth when it is revealed.

His meeting with Isabella does not go as well. The woman looks “like an ageing vampire” and has the disposition of a venomous snake. She is rude and tells Blomkvist not to bother her or ask her any questions. He is to “keep away from her.”

In the first month of the year, Blomkvist travels only once—to spend an afternoon interviewing Detective Superintendent Morell. The man speaks softly and slowly, and he answers the ten questions Blomkvist had written down to ask him. In the end, though, all Blomkvist wants to know is whether there is anything at all that was not included in his report.

Morell’s theory is that somebody murdered Harriet during the hectic moments of the accident on the bridge; they took advantage of the chaos to kill the girl and hide her body to be removed from the island later. He does not have any idea what the motive might be; if he had known that, he would have been more likely to find the killer.

The retired detective offers one more observation: Harriet was clearly impatient to talk to her uncle because she asked to talk to him despite his being occupied with other family members at the time. Morell suspects she was about to tell her uncle something that someone did not want him to hear. He went over all of it both at the time and years later, even after he got promoted and moved from Hedeby. Harriet’s is the case that continues to haunt him.

Three other Vangers live on the island: Alexander, Greger’s son, who is in the West Indies; Gerda, Alexander’s bed-ridden mother; and Harald. In the month Blomkvist has been gone, he has never seen Harald, “an invisible but ever-present spirit.” He is a recluse.

Blomkvist will begin his prison term on March 17 in a minimum-security prison; his sentence is likely to be shortened. Every day, he and Vanger talk. Mostly, the journalist gives his theories and Vanger dismisses them. Blomkvist spends no time on Wennerstrom, and Vanger can see that the younger man is becoming “a bit off balance” some days. He surprises himself by making a twenty-minute phone call to Stockholm on Blomkvist’s behalf. At the end of January, Erika Berger calls him. She is finally done being mad and reports that two thirds of their regular advertisers have quit the magazine. She is worried; Blomkvist is not. She comes for a visit and they begin where they left off more than a month ago.

Salander’s third meeting with Nils Bjurman is scheduled late, after all the office staff are gone. He “smells faintly of drink” and begins to interrogate her regarding her sex life. As he probes for intimate details, Salander tells him nothing or lies as he leers at her. She barely maintains her composure and realizes that her guardian is becoming a “Major Problem.”

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