Archive for January 16, 2009


Posted: January 16, 2009 in Uncategorized


How will we view the character of Lisbeth Salander when the present hysteria, and I use the word carefully, has died down?

hysteria: exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement

Some time ago I posted that I thought a writer to be considered one of the fifty greatest crime writers should fulfil a number of criteria. The writer should have either: 
1) a large body of impressive work
2) or written one stupendous book, such as Harper Lee.
3) or created a uniquely memorable character 

The interest in Lisbeth Salander which has pushed The Girl Who Played With Fire to the top of the hardback best seller lists certainly brings Stieg Larsson into consideration as a great crime writer. But we should not lose our ‘critical perspicacity’ as some reviewers have done with flowing phrases like this:

Johansson and Svensson are found murdered and the description of the fleeing assailant matches Lisbeth Salander to a T.

The problem is that there was no description of a fleeing assailant in the book and it was the forensic evidence that linked Lisbeth to those murders. 

Other reviewers have compared Salander to The Count of Monte Cristo, a character in Star Wars, and an adult Lara Croft. The books have been labelled a modern fairy tale with allusions to James Bond, and Astrid Lindgren’s  Pippi Longstocking as well as her boy detective ‘Kalle’ Blomqvist. 
We have been told that Stieg Larsson because of these references did not mean us to take Lisbeth  Salander seriously. 

Surely the subject matter of the books and the Swedish title of the first book, Man Som Hatar Kvinor [Men Who Hate Women] means Larsson took Salander very seriously indeed. Unfortunately the Millennium series is no clever fairy tale or allegory, and Lisbeth represents every child that has been abused and every woman that has been brutalized and humiliated. There is a particular scene in TGTPWF when Salander goes to buy an apartment and because of her appearance is treated like a naughty child and sent away without proper consideration.
We as a society feel guilty at our failings and are intrigued by the idea of a typical ‘child like’ seemingly helpless victim having the skills and determination to fight back against her oppressors. She is the investigator for our time just as much as Miss Marple was for her age.
I can’t wait for the next book in Stieg Larsson’s series, Luftslottet som spangles, winner of the Nordic Glass Key in 2008. 


Posted: January 16, 2009 in Uncategorized


It is rather appropriate that the Edgar Nominations should be published here a few days before Edgar Allan Poe’s bicentenary on the 19th. Thanks once again to Karen of Euro Crime for this news announced at Maxine’s friend feed where the membership has reached 50. 

I have read only one of all those nominees The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale, but embarrassingly  I do have The Foreigner by Francine Lin on my TBR shelf. This was sent from Picador USA for me to review, and I never got round to reading it. There are just too many books and not enough time in the day, but now I will definitely read it. 

It was nice to see Karin Alvtegen nominated I have only read Betrayal and found it gripping if rather bleak.