The Girl Who Played With Fire, By Stieg Larsson

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The Independent Culture

What explains the sky-rocketing success of the late author's Millennium thrillers – even in translation-wary Britain? For all their serpentine plot-twists, spanking pace and contagious anger about the dirty dealings of the top-drawer Swedish sleazebags who debauch a one-proud welfare state, Larsson's mysteries would never have hit the sales stratosphere without Lisbeth Salander.

Ambisexual wild child, survivor of a youth in "care", hacker of genius, Larsson's punk princess seizes this second Millennium mystery (again translated with rip-roaring energy by Reg Keeland) by the scruff of its neck.

Framed for three murders, she vanishes while sidekick Blomkvist tries to clear her name and the tabloids drool at a "psychotic lesbian Satanist" on the run. We only have to wait until October for the third and final volume.