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January 21, 2011



I have to beg to disagree with you about the success of TGWTDT being because of its serial killer plot. The fact of the serial killer only became evident to Blomkvist right at the end of the book. Nowhere in the blurbs or publicity was this aspect emphasised or even mentioned. The book was marketed on Lisbeth Salander, and from the plot point of view, on its "island mystery" (the commission that Wanger gave Blomkvist) and on the "cold case" aspect (your item 2).

I think a lot of the success of the book was down to Lisbeth's appealing set of characteristics (to the mass audience), on the story of Stieg Larsson himself - mystery, early death, politics, etc- and on the thriller aspects of the book. I am not sure about the fascination with other country - this doesn't seem to me to be a major feature of fascination in the mass US book reading audience (any more than in the UK) though there are discerning readers in both continents, they aren't the mass audience that reads, eg Kellerman, Cornwell, Patterson et al.


AGATHO RESPONDS: I don't think we disagree here at all. What I'm suggesting is that the elements of the serial killer plot (which we both agree are usually deadly dull/predictable) in TGWTDT (aka MWHW) are different and interesting enough, given the rest of the story (setting, Lisbeth's character, etc.) that the book transcends the predictable serial killer books we've come to expect. I know my own reaction when I got to the serial killer part was initially disappointment: "How can this terrific book go to that un-terrific place?" But Larsson made it work for me because he went several steps beyond what might be called the "typical serial killer book." Cheers, Agatho


PS I hate serial killer plots, they are so tedious. I have never been remotely tempted to pick up a Chelsea Cain or one of those Dexter books. I read one or two last year (or rather started them and threw them out) that I found utterly as you write in your post, eg American Devil by Oliver Stark. This is by an English author but set in the US - about the NYPD. Dreadfully predictable. (killer targets petite blondes, the profiler bought in to help is a petite blonde....etc etc).Yet it seems to have done fairly well over here - made it to paperback anyway.


Hello Maxine; Thanks as always for your welcome comments and critical eye. I posted a response to your comment as a way of continuing the conversation. Hope all is well in the UK; we in the States are being pummeled by one massive blizzard after another. It is not a life to be envied. Cheers, Agatho.

לימודי קעקועים

I hate the plots of the serial murderer, are so tedious. I have never been even remotely tempted to take a Chelsea Cain or one of those books Dexter.

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