I am even more grateful than I realised in advance to the publisher (MacLehose Press) for sending me the perfect weekend distraction of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, by Stieg Larsson, translated by Reg Keeland. The book is out in the UK and Australia on 1 October, so if you haven't read the first two in this trilogy, you just about have time to rectify that situation before the final volume is out. You certainly need to have read them both before embarking on Hornet's Nest. Like the previous volumes, the opening 100-or-so pages are not an obvious way to begin a novel of this calibre. But persevere – I am now 200 pages in and at that delicious stage of wanting to race on as fast as possible, yet not read any so that I don't finish the novel. (As, sadly, there will be no more by this author.)
Lisbeth Salander, the scorching protagonist, is in hospital because of her serious, life-threatening injuries incurred at the end of book 2 (The Girl Who Played With Fire). Here's an excerpt from Hornet's Nest (p. 187 of my edition), an exchange between her surgeon and a psychologist at the hospital:
… "I asked her if she wanted something to read, whether I could bring her books of any sort. At first she said no, but later she asked if I had any scientific journals that dealt with genetics and brain research."
"Yes. I told her that there were some popular science books on the subject in our library. She wasn't interested in those. She said she'd read books on the subject before, and she named some standard works that I'd never heard of. She was more interested in pure research in the field."
"I said that we probably didn't have any more advanced books in the patient library – we have more Philip Marlowe than scientific literature – but that I'd see what I could dig up."
"And did you?"
"I went upstairs and borrowed some copies of Nature magazine and The New England Journal of Medicine. She was pleased and thanked me for taking the trouble."
"But those journals contain mostly scholarly papers and pure research."
"She reads them with obvious interest."
See Euro Crime news for some early reviews of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.
More about the Millennium Trilogy, with links to reviews of and articles about the earlier books.