Bear with me on this. There was once a TV show called Happy Days that eventually focused on a supporting character who initially was verbally uncommunicative and wore a leather jacket most of the time. There was also a series of books called the Millenium Trilogy which featured a supporting character that everybody seems to focus on. As to being sparse on words and often found in leather .... ah ... ditto. Really, Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is NOT principally about Lisbeth Salander!
You wouldn't know that, given the book covers, the book titles and the Swedish movies starring Noomi Rapace as the punk hacker and information wizard Salander. But really, the books, at least the first one, are more about Mikael Blomkvist, the publisher, editor and reporter for Millenium magazine, a business expose magazine based out of Stockholm. Salander certainly plays a large part in the initial volume of the Millenium Trilogy, but she doesn't actually meet Blomkvist until after the half-way mark in the book. But, because all three books have titles starting with "The Girl Who..." the supposition is that Salander is the star. Certainly, the widely-hailed movies, each with an imposing picture of Rapace as Salander, perpetuate the myth. Salander is more central in each movie, by necessity. These are long books, 'flabby,' according to one reviewer I read. And the parts that were cut out were mostly those devoted to the internal mental meanderings of Blomkvist.
An American version of the books is coming out, with Rooney Mara in the star-turning role Rapace played. I know all about the physical transformations Mara will be undergoing to play the part, just as Rapace did. I don't know who's playing Blomkvist. I could look it up, of course. But I'm trying to make a point. I had bought into the Salander hysteria too.
Which is a shame. Because Blomkvist is a truly interesting character, the one Larsson makes his own. He too was a reporter and a writer before fashioning the books. A reported fourth exists. Whether it ever sees the light of day is up in the air. His heirs are fighting over his estate after his too-young death almost immediately after handing in the three books in the series.
Blomkvist is a bit of a satyr. He has an ethical side that's elastic enough not to defend himself against libel charges because he's guilty of NOT having the evidence to back up the truth he printed, but also to regularly bed married women and ladies half his age (and some). He suppresses the truth he uncovers in a year-long attempt to find out what happened to Harriet Vanger more than 30 years ago. And he can nod sagely at the 'criminal' hacking Salander does TOO him and FOR him later.
The story starts basically with Blomkvist being told a story by a friend about the misdeeds of a slimy toad by the name of