Chapter 19 Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 702

Thursday, June 19–Sunday, June 29

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Vanger’s condition is improving, but he looks ten years older. Blomkvist feels an unexpected tenderness for him. He tells the old man he has some new leads he is following, and he will have something more to tell him soon. Vanger tells Blomkvist he must finish even if Vanger dies before the mystery is resolved. Birger and Cecilia are both at the hospital and both of them get angry at Blomkvist for upsetting their uncle. Frode comes to call on his client and friend; he says he will back Blomkvist in honoring Vanger’s wishes but feels as if “a storm is brewing.”

Martin is the next to show up at the hospital. He is also upset that the journalist has upset his uncle. He asks for a Millennium board meeting because he will be replacing Vanger—by contract—while he is incapacitated. Blomkvist tells him there is no need for a meeting. At the guesthouse, the cat visits Blomkvist as usual.

Salander tunes up her custom-built Kawasaki and visits her mother in the nursing home. Once again, she does not seem to know her daughter during the entire three-hour visit.

Blomkvist tries to identify the car the couple in the photograph was driving, but it is a tedious and unproductive task. He travels to Norsjo to find the Norsjo Carpentry Shop, but it is no longer in existence. However, he is directed to a man named Burman. As he walks to the Burmans’, he stops and asks people about the couple in the photo; people suggest he go to the local retirement home. The old people there look at the photo but none of them recognize the couple. The Burmans used to own the Carpentry Shop but they do not know the couple; Burman offers to take Blomkvist to a coffee shop to see “some of the old guys.”

Salander has never done an investigation with so little starting information. She begins with the obvious key words in her search engine and actually finds something useful. A woman named Magda was savagely treated and murdered; she was left tied up in a kneeling position inside a horse stall. A cow was also stabbed but was not killed. This scene depicts the verse in Leviticus 20:16: “If a woman approaches any beast and lies with it, you shall kill the woman and the beast; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them.” It is certainly an odd crime, but Salander sees no immediate connection to Harriet Vanger.

Blomkvist goes with Burman, and they spend the day stopping at nearby villages and asking about the couple in the photo. Finally, at 4:00, they get a name. The man in the photo is Assar Brannlund’s son Gunnar, who died in a mining accident. His wife, Mildred, is still alive and lives six miles down the road. She is not home when Blomkvist stops to see her.

Salander makes an appointment to read the official documents of Rakel Lunde’s murder. She also finds a list of unsolved murders; none of them match the names or initials on Harriet’s list except one: Lea Persson, a prostitute, who was murdered in 1962. Her body was brutalized and left behind a container at an industrial site. Ten yards away from the body was a flowerpot with a dead pigeon, cruelly strangled. Salander borrows a Bible and finds Leviticus 12:8, which talks about purifying a woman after childbirth by offering two young pigeons as a sacrifice of atonement and cleansing.

Blomkvist revisits Mildred and shows her the photograph. She explains that she and her husband were on their honeymoon and stopped to enjoy the festivities in Hedestad. Blomkvist shows her the entire spectrum of photos and explains his theory; he hopes she can help him figure out what Harriet is looking at. She finds her honeymoon pictures, three of which were taken in Hedestad. One, of the main street, is very blurry. Another is of her husband. The third is of the clowns in the parade. Blomkvist is thrilled to see a blurry figure on the other side of the street behind the clown, though he is unable to identify the person.

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