This is the first in a series of three novels written by the late Stieg Larsson, a Swedish journalist specializing in antidemocratic right-wing extremist and Nazi organizations and the editor-in-chief of the magazine Expo. Larsson has developed a story based on what he knows about, with a protagonist named Mikael Blomqvist, the editor of a financial magazine who is facing a short jail sentence for libel after his expose of a corrupt financier goes off course. Blomqvist is approached by the elderly industrialist Henrik Vanger who requests that Mikael investigate the disappearance of his teen-aged niece more than forty years earlier. To sweeten the deal, Vanger says he will present Blomqvist with the goods on the corrupt financier after the mysterious disappearance is solved.
Blomqvist is assisted in his investigation by the inscrutable Lisbeth Salander, a tattooed genius computer hacker who introduces an additional theme to the storyline, that of sexual violence against women. With the resolution of the mystery there is the promise of further adventures with Blomqvist and Salander. Well-drawn characters, attention to detail, and a fast-paced plot make this an enjoyable read.