The Vanger family is one of the richest families in Sweden; heads of a multinational corporation. Yet there is a tragedy in the Vanger background. Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger, only sixteen, vanished one summer day. The disappearance has never been solved. Henrik Vanger, the family patriarch, has decided that the time has come to try once again to find out what happened to Harriet. Now 82, he has given over the reins of the company to his nephew, Martin, and has spent years trying to solve the mystery to no avail. Harriet was Henrik's niece and was his favorite family member.
In order to try once more, Henrik hires Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative reporter. Mikael has recently been convicted of libel and is at loose ends. Henrik hires him to use his skills to see if there is anything left to discover. The cover story is that Mikael is writing a biography of the Vanger family. He meets the various surviving family members and digs into the story. Along the way, he is helped by a young computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander, the girl with the dragon tattoo. Antisocial and living below the radar, she adds her unorthodox methods to Mikael's investigation. Against all odds, Mikael and Lisbeth are able to find out what happened that long-ago summer day and bring closure to Henrik with the case's resolution. In the process, though, they uncover vile crimes that have gone undetected for years.
I enjoyed this book. It was more literary than the usual mystery, and delved into the relationships between the various characters. Lisbeth Salander is a unique character, and one that the reader is left wanting to know more about. This book is the first of three in a series, and I will definately look for the others as they become available. This book is recommended for general fiction readers and mystery lovers.