Chapter 23 Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 876

Friday, July 11

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Blomkvist awakens early and ponders Salander’s tattoos as she sleeps. His next thoughts are of Harriet. Whoever Harriet thought was a threat then is too old to be the current threat. Blomkvist believes Cecilia was telling the truth when she denied being the woman in the window, so he re-examines the photos. Suddenly he notices Greger Vanger also had a camera on that day. Blomkvist also realizes Salander is so effective as a researcher because she has a photographic memory. When he tells her he knows about her memory, “her reaction is almost explosive.” She looks at him with fury in her eyes before she runs off. Blomkvist easily finds her, and she explains that she feels like a freak when others learn of her ability, even though it is helpful in her job.

Salander remembers a Bible verse about cutting a sacrifice in pieces before splattering the blood on the church door. They immediately go to the church but see no blood, then they see the Vanger crypt. After retrieving the key from Vanger’s housekeeper, they discover that the cat was mutilated here. They find a blowtorch, a bolt cutter, and fresh blood. This confirms to them that the killer is a “complete lunatic” because he came to this place, despite the likelihood of being seen. He is compulsive and could not make the sacrifice just anywhere.

They go to see Frode, who apologizes for making erroneous assumptions about Salander when they first met. He is appalled that someone shot at Blomkvist. When asked who has access and the key to the family vault, Frode tells them Henrik has a key; Isabella goes to the crypt but he does not know if she has a key. Blomkvist asks that Salander be given access to all the old press clippings that concern the Vanger Corporation; Frode will ask Greger’s son, Alexander, about any photos he may have taken the day Harriet was murdered.

When Blomkvist gets a pile of Greger’s photos from Alexander, Blomkvist finds many family photos that will be perfect for the book. The rest of the pictures do not appear to have any real value, but he scans them into his computer nevertheless. Blomkvist also asks Anna, Vanger’s housekeeper, for any other pictures and sees a family photo from dinner on the night of the bridge accident. For the first time in any of the photos, he sees a woman who could be Cecilia’s twin sister. He realizes it was not Cecilia in Harriet’s window that day—it was her sister Anita. Next Blomkvist sees a picture of the first day’s search party—and he gasps. He sees a person wearing a jacket he recognizes; to be certain who it is, he asks Anna. It is Martin.

Salander is absorbing everything she reads and quickly gets an idea. She asks for a map of Vanger Corporation’s factories, companies, and offices in existence during the 1950s and 1960s. Every one of the murders she uncovered happened in a place where the Vanger Corporation, in some form, was located. This is the connection for which she and Blomkvist have been looking.

Blomkvist reviews Martin’s biography. He attended the same school as one of the victims, Blomkvist now realizes, and he lived with Harald while there. Martin was an introverted, socially inept boy. Martin claimed he had not seen Harriet at all on that day in 1966, but he lied, as the photos show. Both the honeymoon photo and the dinner party photo prove that he came face-to-face with his sister. Vanger had put Martin far down on his list of suspects because he was stuck on the other side of the bridge; Blomkvist wonders who on the island helped him murder Harriet. Because she was in the window, he suspects it was Anita.

Salander begins to see more connections between the murders and the Vangers—five of the eight are connected to the dissolute Gottfried Vanger. However, Gottfried drowned in 1965, and the last murder on her list happened in 1966.

Blomkvist decides to go talk with Martin. The house is dark, but when he looks around he finds the preparations for the next sacrifice in Martin’s garage. Martin sneaks up behind Blomkvist with a gun and prods him down to the basement. Martin tosses Blomkvist the keys to a rather hidden door, “the door to hell.” In the ten-foot by twenty-foot room are implements of torture, video equipment, and a steel cage. Martin tells his prisoner to lie on his stomach on the floor. Blomkvist protests but Martin threatens him and he complies. Martin beats and kicks the journalist, swinging “between rationality and pure lunacy.” Blomkvist just tries to protect himself from the attack as Martin tells him he tried to send him away but he would not go. Now, he says, Blomkvist will die here.

Blomkvist tells him about the photos and that he left them on his kitchen table for Salander to find. Martin knows that Salander is doing research in the Vanger offices late tonight, and he will get a call from the security guard when she leaves the building. Martin plans to burn down the guesthouse with Salander in it.

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Chapter 24 Summary