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CRIME FICTION:Lisbeth Salander in situ and in Stockholm

The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millenium, #2) The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

Volume Two of the trilogy which is an addictive page turner primarily due to the main protagonist -- Lisbeth Salander.

All the other devices Larsson has used are second fiddle to this core characterisation which take the books (I've read two and a third is to be published in English in October) to an exceptional level.

It is nonetheless good story telling and whatever may be your hesitancy when you first begin to read these pot boilers -- Lisbeth will win you over as something very real in a hostile world.

The core themes about misogyny and media spin are buoyed up , as in Volume I , by another conspiracy driven plot line. All rather shallow except for.... our heroine.

The contrived plotting doesn't really dwell in the identifiable real world of our own experience of big money and credibility -- but really once you engage, you're hooked and of the millions who are reading Stieg Larsson's trilogy, many of those are reading the 400 odd pages in each volume in one sitting.

So something is happening between these covers. While Larsson's moralism is laid on pretty thick through the person of Lisbeth's partner in sleuthing, Mikael Blomkvist — a crusading journalist and publisher -- you can't complain that he has chosen to target sex trafficking as the novels' primary exposee.

Liberal good will carries these novels a long way but in order, inevitably, to settle upon an explanation of why things occur as they do, you have to be ever ready to accept another conspiracy of complicity.

Sweden has a history of socially engaged crime fiction and the main writers in the genre feed off one another. But with Larsson the exploration is very insular and shallow with no attempt to explore anything broader than a few on hand evil bastards who seem to come out of the Ikea woodwork fully kited out for their role.

But with Lisbeth Salander in situ and in Stockholm, all is forgiven.

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