After nearly two years of hearing nothing but good things, I am glad to finally meet you.
I am so enjoying The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and am glad someone retitled it for you. Men Who Hate Women just doesn’t have the same shelf appeal. Maybe you’re bad at titles. I don’t much like the original title to the third book either. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest is much better–particularly now that we know who that girl is.
Which brings me to character. You mentioned that some of your favorite mystery writers are Elizabeth George and Dorothy L. Sayers, among many others. Great choices! The thing that stands out for me in these novels are the characters–Lord Peter Whimsy, the unforgettable Buntner, Harriet Vane; Thomas Lynley, Barbara Havers, Helen and the rest. Likewise, your Blomqvist and Salander. Two such different creatures should hardly exist on the same page, and yet it is often the unlikeliest teams that ring most true. This is a winning combination.
Likewise the setting: Northern Sweden in winter–cold places harboring icy people with dirty secrets. The intrigue, even this early in the first novel, is gripping. Between you and Henning Mankell I am learning things about Sweden I never dreamed possible. As I mentioned earlier, fiction inevitably has some basis in reality. While one often pictures Sweden a dull social democracy, how untrue that notion is proving to be. Of course I want to go there now and see the places for myself.
I applaud the anti-Nazi and pro-women’s rights work you accomplished in your lifetime. Given the long hours of research and writing during the workday, it amazes me that you found the time to write three novels and draft outlines for several more. I only wish you’d hung around long enough to finish them all. It appals me to learn that you were threatened in your homeland–that you felt it unsafe to marry your life partner because by law your home address would then become public. (In hindsight, what a mess the lack of that marriage certificate plus a will that wasn’t properly witnessed created for everyone–particularly the person you loved best!)
It’s time to go read now…and to be inspired by the volume of work you accomplished in 50 years. It sounds like you were probably a bear to live with, but thankfully that was not my problem. Wishing you well in your next level of existence.