An international best-seller, this book is set in Sweden. The main character is Mikael Blomkvist, a financial journalist who is at loose ends because he recently lost a libel case. He is hired by the elderly patriarch of the very wealthy Vanger family to look into the disappearance of Harriet Vanger. Harriet disappeared 40 years ago and is presumed to have been murdered, although her body has never been found. The book is primarily a murder mystery, and a pretty interesting one, but several other storylines are woven into the plot. The tension and complexity build as the novel progresses, and it all comes together quite nicely. The characters are varied, different and not always easy to like. Although there are a few inconsistencies in the plot, the fine writing and masterful pacing more than make up for these minor distractions.
This book is not for everyone, as there is graphic violence, language and sex scenes.