Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 829
Tuesday, July 29–Friday, October 24
Blomkvist has been looking at the boxes of data Salander has gathered on Wennerstrom: companies, accounts, funds, securities. All of them are interconnected in a labyrinthine structure. Salander explains she placed an electronic cuff (Plague’s invention; she volunteered to test it for him) on Wennerstrom’s broadband cable, and all the data on his computer comes to her. Blomkvist receives a call that Janne Dahlman is on holiday and was seen with someone from a rival financial magazine—one owned by the Wennerstrom group. Blomkvist and Salander go to the Millennium offices and access Dahlman’s computer. He has been spying for Wennerstrom since at least last fall.
The only call Blomkvist makes is to Christer Malm; he tells him the news but instructs him not to fire Dahlman. Instead, he calls a meeting for the next afternoon. When everyone has gathered, he tells them his plan—they are all to act as if Millennium is going to collapse by Christmas. Blomkvist tells them Dahlman has been spying, so no one must put any of this discussion in writing. As far as everyone else is concerned, the truth must be that the magazine is sinking. Blomkvist also asks them to start complaining about him to each other and to propagate all false information as it is given to them.
Berger will begin talking about layoffs at the end of August, though he assures them their jobs are all safe and the partnership with Vanger is secure. They will submit false reports regarding advertising revenue and a decrease in subscriptions. It must all remain internal, so any leaks can be traced to no one but Dahlman. The staff does not like Dahlman, so it is easy for Blomkvist to convince them to play along with the charade. Malm has the task of convincing Berger that this is a wise plan so Wennerstrom will not get suspicious.
The truth is that Blomkvist should be the one to contact Berger, but he cannot bear to face her after having covered up Martin’s story, and he would never consider lying to her. After the meeting, Blomkvist goes to the cabin he inherited from his parents and spends countless hours in front of his computer. Salander visits him and finds him unshaven and hollow-eyed. Salander likes his cabin and manages to distract Blomkvist from his work occasionally. She is “strangely content with life” and stays for five days before she has to leave for several weeks to do a job for Armansky. In the four weeks after she returns, the pair establishes a routine. It is a kind of holiday for her, and he is working steadily on his project.
Dahlman resigns and begins working for Millennium’s competitor. Blomkvist tells Berger to save forty pages in the December issue and asks Malm to create a publishing company and get ready to print their first book. Isabella dies in early October, and Harriet assumes Vanger’s position on the Millennium board. Harriet asks Berger not to judge her or Blomkvist too harshly and promises to tell her the entire story one day if Blomkvist does not do so. Blomkvist is glad to have Harriet tell Berger, and he hopes the two women will be friends.
Salander learns that Wennerstrom got a twenty-two-year-old girl pregnant and forced her to abort the child; she is appalled at finding another woman-hater connected to her life. She begins some research of her own and an idea begins to germinate. In fact, she is surprised she did not think of it sooner.
After weeks of exhausting work, Blomkvist finally gives his article to Salander to review. Once she gives him her opinion, they close up the cabin and go back to Stockholm. There Blomkvist has a dilemma, for Berger refuses to publish the article unless she knows the source; however, he will not reveal Salander as his source without her consent. Berger assures him she will tell no one else, and Salander agrees to be introduced to Erika Berger. Berger has just hired a new managing editor but does not include her in the meeting.
The three of them meet in Blomkvist’s apartment. When Berger meets the other woman, she sees an anorexic fifteen-year-old—until she looks at Salander’s eyes. She looks at Blomkvist and sees a faint, thin red line on his neck; he looks haggard and worn. When Blomkvist introduces them, Salander is certain Berger is never going to be a close friend. It takes five hours to convince Berger that this “odd girl” could have gotten this information on Wennerstrom and several of his lawyers and associates.
Berger asks what happened in Hedeby, but Blomkvist begs her with his eyes not to ask, something he has never done before. He explains that Salander saved his life, and Berger gives the younger woman an unexpected but sincere hug. Salander is “a taciturn girl with hostile vibrations”; she squirms uncomfortably.
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