‘The Girl Who Played With Fire’ is exciting
By Anne Hilton Monday, November 15 2010
Readers in Grenada, readers who have visited Grenada, botanists, field naturalists – and everyone who watches TV news weather maps when there's a hurricane in the offing – are going to steups when they get to page 12 in Stieg Larsson's international super bestseller The Girl Who Played With Fire, the second book in the trilogy The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and (and alas the third and last book, for the author died shortly after submitting the manuscript to the publisher) The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest now available from Nigel R. Khan, Bookseller.
One would think those who translate books from a foreign language in to English might check their facts should they find both author and publishers have overlooked an error in the text – but apparently neither Stieg Larsson, nor his Swedish publisher, nor translator Reg Keeland bothered to check whether or not rhododendrons grow in Grenada – which they don't. Rhododendrons grow on the slopes of the Himalayas and in gardens in temperate countries, not the tropics.
Moving on, our heroine, (taking a well-deserved vacation in a hotel on Gran Anse) sees a freighter heading south in the direction of … Guyana. One is forced to wonder just why that freighter diverted through the Caribbean? But that was just the beginning. Our heroine, Lisbeth Salander hopped on a ferry plying between St Lucia and Grenada where she stayed first in a guesthouse, then checked in to a swanky hotel on Gran Anse where she walked on the beach and ate local fruits called chin-ups.
Please note, the date is December 17 – 18 and... enter Hurricane Matilda (and I quote) “that formed off Brazil a few weeks ago, and yesterday tore straight through Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname. No one's quite sure what direction it's going to take … if it goes on following the coast to the west, then Trinidad and Grenada will be smack in its path. And of course it is, complete with a tornado that seems to have taken a wrong turn from the Great Plains in the US.
Fortunately for Caribbean readers' blood pressure Lisbeth Salander returns to Stockholm on January 10, when only those with an intimate knowledge of the geography, meteorology, flora and fauna of Sweden need pick nits in this very exciting, violent, immensely intricate thriller.
In fact it's quite a relief to get back to base (Larsson's base) with Lisbeth, Mikael Blomkvist and the staff of Millenium magazine, an Lisbeth's sadistic guardian Nils Erik Bjurman.
Briefly, Dag Svensson is writing an exposé for the magazine while his girl friend Mia Johansson has written book, about to be published by Millenium, on the sex trade and trafficking, with girls from Eastern Europe and Russia being lured to Sweden with promises of work, only to find themselves forced into prostitution at the hands of sadistic pimps.
When first Svensson and Johansson then Bjurman are murdered, all three shot with the same gun with Lisbeth's fingerprints on the weapon police mount a nationwide hunt for her, the Press paint her as a sadistic lesbian but Blomkvist is convinced that, although known to be violent, Lisbeth is being framed.
To detail the twists, turns and intricacies of the plot is beyond the scope of this review. Suffice it to say that a next cast of unpleasant characters do their endeavour best to kill our heroine who, at the end, is alive – but only just – and under arrest in her hospital bed for shooting one of the bad guys in the foot.
You'll find "The Girl Who Played With Fire" an unputdownable book (once past the fairy tale of Grenada and hurricane Matilda) in Nigel Khan Bookseller Stores Nationwide, and in Grenada, too.