Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 682
Epilogue: Final Audit
Thursday, November 27–Tuesday, December 30
Millennium’s story on Wennerstrom takes up forty-six pages of the magazine and “explodes like a bombshell” the last week in November. It has a joint byline: Erika Berger and Mikael Blomkvist. The rest of the media is not sure what to do because the last article on Wennerstrom was so disastrous and the magazine’s level of credibility in this area is so low. While the Swedish news media waits, the rest of the world takes the story and runs it everywhere. Finally the truth has been revealed, and the Millennium staff celebrates.
For several weeks, the Swedish Stock Exchange wavers as investigations are launched. The accusations begin to be proven true, and the financial world reels at the massive fraud. Wennerstrom is part of a new Mafia. Blomkvist does not make himself available for comment during the first few days after the article’s release; Berger takes all the calls and makes all the comments. Soon Blomkvist is seen as a hero who did not defend himself at his trial to protect his source, and the magazine is getting fawning reviews.
Five days after the article is published, Blomkvist’s book The Mafia Banker is on the bookshelves. The dedication reads, “To Sally, who showed me the benefits of the sport of golf.” It is 608 pages long, and it was written while he was at his cabin. Every detail is meticulously documented. Blomkvist is brilliant in a television interview when he blames financial reporters for allowing Wennerstrom to create an inflated worth, so now the Stock Exchange is plummeting. After that interview, the Wennerstrom affair gets subtly shifted from financial news desks to criminal news departments. Even some of Wennerstrom’s colleagues break their code of silence and condemn Wennerstrom’s actions in order to distance themselves from the scandal.
Only Wennerstrom himself is silent; he only speaks through his lawyers. He has disappeared. Later, Wennerstrom is found dead in an apartment in Spain, shot three times in the head at close range. Salander is not surprised at his death because he had no money in his offshore account with which to pay his Colombian debts. No one ever asked her, but she always knew where Wennerstrom was. She simply left a message containing his address for one of the people from whom Wennerstrom was hiding.
Blomkvist receives a Christmas package from his college buddy: mosquito repellent and a bottle of aquavit, the same thing they were drinking that night on his boat. Blomkvist happens to see a small article that suggests Wennerstrom must have been tipped off about the article because 2.5 billion kroner (260 million American dollars) had been emptied from his accounts the day before it was published. The entire world is searching for a woman named Monica Sholes, the woman who apparently did all of Wennerstrom’s banking for him. Blomkvist looks closely at one of the fuzzy photos of Sholes, recognizes Salander, and laughs.
Blomkvist spends Christmas Eve with Pernilla and his ex-wife, and he spends the rest of the holiday at his cabin with Salander. He makes her feel “naked and vulnerable to his will” but she trusts him more than anyone else in her life—ever. She is terrified to discover that she loves him, but she does not tell him. Blomkvist travels to Hedestad and meets Frode to finish their contractual dealings, gather his belongings, and meet with Vanger. He agrees to not write the family history book and to destroy all his notes and recordings.
Salander is in a frenzy to clean her house for the first time in years. After two days of madness, she is still longing to be with Blomkvist. She finally decides to tell him of her feelings. On the way to his apartment, she sees him walking with Erika Berger in an embrace that will undoubtedly lead to something more once they have some privacy. Salander’s reaction is so strong she wants to physically strike them. She calls herself a pitiful fool and walks home as it starts to snow.
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