The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Summary

Summary Of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a crime novel published in 2005 by Swedish author and journalist Stieg Larsson.

Summary Of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo begins with journalist Mikael Blomkvist’s conviction for libel and defamation against financier Hans-Erik Wennerström. Affected by the verdict, Blomkvist retreats to a café to reflect on the future of Millennium, the political magazine he co-founded. He expects to serve a three-month prison sentence but is more concerned about Millennium’s fate. After some contemplation, he meets with Erika Berger, the magazine’s editor-in-chief and Blomkvist’s lover, and tells her he plans to leave the magazine.

Meanwhile, Lisbeth Salander, a young woman with tattoos and piercings who works in the special investigations division of Milton Security, attends a meeting with her boss, Dragan Armansky, and lawyer Dirch Frode. Frode wants to hire Blomkvist on behalf of Henrik Vanger, a wealthy industrialist and head of the Vanger companies. Salander has prepared a report on Blomkvist, and Frode wants to know the findings. Satisfied with her work, Frode encourages Salander to investigate the Wennerström case further and contacts Blomkvist to offer him the job.

As Salander continues her investigation, Blomkvist considers the job offer and purchases an electronic bracelet to monitor Wennerström’s computer. Concerned about Millennium and his career, Blomkvist agrees to meet Henrik on December 26. Henrik explains his family’s history and the mysterious disappearance of his niece, Harriet, in 1966, under the guise of writing a history of the Vanger family. Intrigued but hesitant to accept the job due to his pressing issues, Blomkvist is swayed when Henrik promises to provide damning information on Wennerström if he solves the case. As Millennium continues to lose ad revenue, Blomkvist decides to take the offer to repair his career.

Blomkvist moves to the small island of Hedeby, where the Vanger family resides, and starts investigating the names and numbers in Harriet’s diary. Henrik introduces him to other members of the Vanger family. Meanwhile, Salander faces a critical situation with her guardian, Holger Palmgren, who falls severely ill. Her new guardian, Nils Bjurman, takes control of her finances and forces her into degrading situations, including oral sex.

Enraged, Salander decides to blackmail Bjurman, recording their next encounter. However, the encounter goes horribly wrong as Bjurman brutally rapes her. A week later, Salander returns to his apartment, handcuffs him to the bed, tortures him, and threatens to release the recording unless he gives her control over her finances and works to declare her legally competent. She tattoos a reminder of his perversion on his body before leaving. Surprised, Salander learns her services are no longer required in the Wennerström case.

Blomkvist, thanks to a helpful clue from his daughter Pernilla, discovers that the names and numbers in Harriet’s diary are not phone numbers but Bible verses. Desperate to solve the mystery, Blomkvist asks Frode for another investigator, and Frode suggests Salander. Blomkvist, realizing that Salander has been hacking his computer, goes to her apartment and pleads for her help. Skeptical and intrigued, Salander agrees, and the duo discovers that the names and numbers refer to a series of horrific murders.

As they dig deeper, an unidentified assailant shoots at Blomkvist and leaves a mutilated cat on his porch. Blomkvist believes these attacks confirm they are close to the truth and searches for photos of the Children’s Day parade on the day Harriet disappeared. The photos reveal Harriet’s distress, and Blomkvist hopes to find who caused her so much pain. Salander heads to the Vanger family archives, while Blomkvist finally finds a smoking gun: a photo from the 1966 Children’s Day parade showing Harriet’s brother, Martin Vanger.

In the climax of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Blomkvist confronts Martin at his cabin. Prepared, Martin takes Blomkvist at gunpoint to a makeshift prison in the basement. Martin confesses that he and his father were responsible for the murders and that they tried to involve Harriet in their deadly traditions. However, to Blomkvist’s shock, Martin claims he doesn’t know what happened to Harriet and tries to strangle Blomkvist. Salander arrives just in time and severely beats Martin with a golf club, freeing Blomkvist from his bonds. Martin flees in his car but crashes and dies in a fiery accident.

The next day, Salander, Blomkvist, and Frode agree not to report the murders to the police. Putting the pieces together, Blomkvist realizes Harriet is alive. He tracks her down and shares some of the story with her before reuniting her with Henrik. Later, Frode informs Blomkvist that Henrik no longer wants to publish the book and has no valuable information on Wennerström, the reason Blomkvist took the project in the first place. At this point, Salander presents the incriminating evidence she gathered on Wennerström’s corrupt financial dealings.

Towards the end of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Blomkvist writes an exposé on the Wennerström affair, which shakes the financial world, restores his reputation, and secures Millennium’s future. Salander, using a false identity, withdraws funds from Wennerström’s accounts to ensure her financial independence. Later, Wennerström is found dead in a hotel room in Spain, thanks to a tip-off from Salander. Finally, Salander accepts her feelings for Blomkvist and prepares to confess them during Christmas but sees him with Erika Berger. Deciding to walk away from the situation, she leaves without closure despite their successful case resolution.

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