Chapter 20 Summary
Tuesday, July 1–Wednesday, July 2
Blomkvist visits Frode and learns that Vanger’s condition has improved. Everyone is thankful he is no longer in critical condition. The journalist confirms with the lawyer that, though Martin will take Vanger’s place on the Millennium board if anything happens to his uncle, he will not be allowed to interfere in any significant way, as Blomkvist fears he might. Off the record, Frode tells Blomkvist that Vanger Corporation is in trouble and getting worse. Martin has been pushing for Blomkvist to abandon his uncle’s project of investigating Harriet’s disappearance, probably at Cecilia’s prompting.
Blomkvist visits with Martin and tells him he will be finishing his contract with Vanger. Martin seems torn between loyalty to his uncle and the magazine. Frode tells Blomkvist it is actually Isabella and Birger who want the investigator gone, not Cecilia. A reporter from the Hedestad Courier calls Blomkvist for an interview regarding journalists who falsify material. Blomkvist simply dismisses the reporter and the line of questioning.
Salander rides her motorcycle to Hedeby. Blomkvist has borrowed a camp bed and cooks for Salander while she showers and changes. As they settle in to eat, Salander realizes she had been wary about being in such proximity to Blomkvist but senses no threat from him. She shows him the research she has done. There are five murders that match the names and verses on Harriet’s list. In addition, she discovered three more odd murders with the same general pattern and matching scriptures. All of them happened between 1949 and 1966, and they are all grotesque parodies of Old Testament mandates against unclean women and sin.
All they have to do now is find the connection to the Vanger family. The women’s names are all biblical, which means all of them are probably Jewish. It is a curious coincidence that several Vangers were active in the anti-Semitic Nazi movement. Salander was hired to find the murders connected to Harriet’s diary, which she has done. Technically, her job is over; however, Blomkvist says he would like to keep her on as his research assistant. His working theory is that they are looking for a serial killer. Salander has made her judgment about the killer, just as she makes judgments about everyone she researches. Her theory is that the man who committed these murders is a woman hater, not some insane serial killer who twisted and misinterpreted the Bible.