Whisky Magazine Issue 98
This article is 3 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.
Copyright Whisky Magazine © 1999-2014. All rights reserved. To use or reproduce part or all of this article please contact us for details of how you can do so legally.
Jefferson Chase continues his look at Swedish crime fiction.
Judging from the sales figures, I must be one of the last people on earth to have read The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, the final instalment of Stieg Larsson's massively popular Millennium trilogy. So I won't summarise the plot except to say it's about an ass-kicking cyberpunk named Lisbeth Salander, whose only hope of escaping imprisonment in mental institutions is to uncover, with the help of a journalist, a government conspiracy involving her family.
That said, what's the appeal of this Swedish crime series? In the beginning I was somewhat bewildered by the shear detail, the lists of characters and what roles they serve in the plot.
But gradually, I got sucked in by Larsson's portrayal of people and what they do. For instance, a doctor at a Gothenburg hospital: The girl on the gurney could live with a piece of lead in her hip and a piece of lead in her shoulder. But a piece of lead inside her head was a trauma of a wholly different magnitude.
He was suddenly aware of Nurse Nicander saying something.
‘Sorry, I wasn't listening.' ‘It's her.' The patient in question is Salander, who was nearly fatally wounded at the end of the second part of trilogy.
As an American I was struck by the amount of time the characters spend trying to follow the rules of bureaucratic, everything-by-the-book Sweden. In American crime fiction, breaking the rules is part of the hero's appeal. That's where Salander comes in, and I suspect she's the character who mainly attracts readers....