Chapter 16 Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 552

Sunday, June 1–Tuesday, June 10

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After six months of thinking and questioning with no luck, Blomkvist finally has a breakthrough in Harriet’s case. There are three new pieces to the puzzle; he discovered two of them and got help with the third. After spending three hours looking at photos, he has a sudden insight. Most of the investigative attention has been given to the photos of the accident on the bridge; however, Blomkvist is arrested by the first photo taken of Harriet at the Children’s Day parade. It was probably taken from a first-floor window somewhere along the parade route. The crowd is doing what most crowds do—following the activities and sights around them. Some are looking at one thing, some are looking at another, but all of them are looking at things in front of them and they all look happy—all but one person.

Harriet’s head is turned to one side; she is looking at something just off the edge of the photo to her left. Her mouth is a thin line, her eyes are open wide, and her hands are hanging limp at her side. She looks frightened and furious. The photo was taken from too far away for Blomkvist to determine anything more, even with a magnifying glass. He immediately re-enacts the scene from the photo and finds the exact spot where Harriet was standing on that day in 1966. He looks left to where her gaze went in the photo and sees the Sundstroms’ Haberdashery building. Though he cannot prove it yet, Blomkvist is certain the chain of events he is investigating began in Hedestad hours before Hedeby Island and the bridge accident. Something prompted her to go home after the parade, but her Uncle Henrik did not have time to talk with her about it. Blomkvist now believes that is when the killer struck.

He explains his theory to Vanger and gets permission to examine the photographic archives of the Hedestad Courier. He needs to see all the photos of the Children’s Day parade in 1966. The photo editor at the newspaper guesses what he is researching, but Blomkvist maintains his cover story of writing a family history. He knows the equipment well and is able to work on his own. He finds a photo of Harriet’s open window and sees a face. The hair is lighter and the face is more mature than Harriet’s. The woman is wearing light-colored clothes; when Blomkvist examines other photos of that day, he sees that the only woman on the island who matches the image is Cecilia Vanger. This revelation causes Blomkvist to wonder how candid Cecilia has been with him all these months.

The newspaper photographer took eighteen photos from the haberdashery. Harriet is in seventeen of them. All the photographs were taken in a five-minute period between 3:10 and 3:15. The series of photos confirms Blomkvist’s theory but adds no new information.

The second breakthrough in Harriet’s case is when he finds in the photographs a picture of one couple who took at least one photograph, if his measurements are correct, of whatever Harriet saw at the parade. He can see a car and a partial license plate behind them; in the window of the car is a sticker that says “norsejo snickerifabrik.”

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