Chapter 17 Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 665

Wednesday, June 11–Saturday, June 14

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The third clue in Harriet’s case comes to Blomkvist unexpectedly. He stops at Cecilia’s to see why she lied to the police about being in Harriet’s room the day Harriet disappeared. No one answers the door, but behind him he hears someone say, “Your whore isn’t home.” Blomkvist turns around to see Harald, splotched with liver spots, wearing his pajamas and dressing gown and carrying a cane. He is the picture of a “nasty old man.” Blomkvist stands nose-to-nose with him and defends Cecilia to her father before walking away from the old man.

When he tells Vanger about the confrontation, Vanger is not surprised. As a young lady, Cecilia fell in love with a nice boy who happened to be one-quarter Jewish. Ever since then, Harald (a Nazi sympathizer) has thought of his daughter as a whore and has not been quiet about his feelings. Cecilia is away on a vacation for a month. Blomkvist shows Vanger the Children’s Day parade photo and explains his theory. He does not mention the photo of the face in the window.

When Blomkvist arrives home, his daughter, Pernilla, is waiting for him on his front porch. Her mother told her where she could find him, and she wanted to stop to see him on her way to summer Bible camp. He is suddenly shocked to realize how alike Pernilla and Harriet are. Pernilla leaves for camp and tells him she loves him, religious beliefs or not; however, she wants him to continue his study of the Bible. Her comment is based on the Scripture references she noticed were pinned to his wall—the list of names, initials, and apparent phone numbers from the back of Harriet’s diary. Blomkvist had never considered the Bible as the key to Harriet’s code.

After Pernilla leaves, Blomkvist goes to Gottfried’s cabin and gets Harriet’s Bible. He discovers each of the verses, all underlined and all dealing with eternal damnation for those who practice harlotry, witchcraft, and more. All the references are violent and require some kind of sacrifice—like the case Inspector Morell told him about. In the late 1940s, a woman named Rebecka was raped and killed and her head was placed in smoldering coals. Blomkvist goes to see Vanger, who is ill with a summer cold. He remembers Rebecka Jackson, a woman in her early twenties who worked for Vanger Corporation, but he does not see a connection to Harriet’s murder, which took place seventeen years later.

A day later, Vanger is taken away in an ambulance because of his heart. Martin is going to contact Cecilia, and Birger volunteers to tell Frode—who reminds them that it is Friday the 13th. The next day Vanger is alive, but Blomkvist is worried. The old man had a serious heart attack and now has a severe infection. Blomkvist tells Frode he is worried that his news may have triggered Vanger’s heart attack. He tells Frode everything he has discovered, except for Cecilia’s face in the window. Blomkvist tells the lawyer he needs the help of a skilled researcher, and Frode immediately suggests they contact the researcher he and Vanger used to investigate him.

Blomkvist is shocked and demands to see the file they compiled on him or he will leave. Frode capitulates and eventually gives him the file. It contains eighty pages of work, including articles he has written and other documents of his life. Whoever did this research found things he had thought were long buried. A journalist knows thorough research, and this woman is very good. She even correctly interpreted the meaning of his refusal to speak at the Wennerstrom trial. Astonishingly, she predicted the press release he and Berger released after the verdict was announced—and she predicted it virtually word-for-word three days before the trial ended. There is only one way she could have such information: she hacked his computer.

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