Saturday, February 11, 2012

Wrestling with Swedish hornets

I managed, for reasons associated with where I live, not to see the film of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, though I wish I had and still hope to. But at Christmas, I was given the book on the left. "You like detective stories, yes?" said Ewan. And yes, I do - right back to when I began with Edmund Crispin. So I began on my Christmas books with this one, thinking "fat book, get it read before I go on holiday". But I'd reckoned - as, I imagine, had Ewan - without the travails induced by reading the third book of a trilogy in which all the characters have appeared from the start - or so I imagine - and have, furthermore, Swedish names that stubbornly resist internal pronunciation and therefore memory.

That said, I ended up thoroughly enjoying The Girl who kicked the Hornets' Nest.  Perhaps there was an element of triumph in my enjoyment, but it meant that I ended up lugging the two-thirds finished tome all the way to Dubai in my cabin bag so that I could read it on the long flight.

Apart from the intricately worked-out plot that had me thumbing backwards to find out where the clues were laid (and to check out which Swedish name belonged to which plot element) I found myself revelling in the hacking that formed the backbone of the latter part of the story. (How sad is that?) I regretted my inadequate knowledge of Swedish geography and the lack of a map at the front of this book, and I marvelled at what Swedes seem to eat for breakfast. It was such an engrossing experience that I found myself bereft beneath the palm trees when I finished it in a late afternoon after a swim, and it was hard to start on another book - which I may also review - that evening.

Several people have offered to lend me the other two books - I shall be ready to start one in about a fortnight, the way my life is looking right now. And I want to see the movie ...


  1. Starting with the third book of the Trilogy first must have been very confusing! The second and third books are really part one and part two of a whole. The first book is a 'whole in one' -- so to speak! Having read all three chronically and having read other Swedish crime thrillers -- most notably the Wallander detective series by Henning Mankel, I am quite comfortable with that genre now. The Hollywood movie is very good. I am now watching the Swedish made for television trilogy of movies and have one left to watch. And I have enjoyed them very much and think they do justice to the books. Both actresses are excellent and I can imagine that for-evermore there will be a debate about which one was better -- I really could not chose between them. I have been watching the dvd's on Sunday night when I find television programming so completely dire!

  2. I'm interested that you enjoyed this so much as opinions and reviews of Larssen's novels seem to be so divided. I must confess they have never appealed to me, despite my love of crime fiction. but first The Broad and now you have given them such a glowing review that perhaps I may have to have a go after all.

  3. Dear Christine,
    Like Perpetua, I have resisted this trilogy as well as the movies because I thought they might be too violent. Maybe I have to rethink.


  4. Oh, Lord, Perpetua - now I feel a sense of responsibilty! I'm glad The Broad is in it too ...

  5. Dee, violence didn't make much of an impression in the book - don't know what the films would be like. I tend to be more upset by mental violence, I think ...

  6. Similarly Scandiavian - have you been watching Borgen? Brilliant!