"So you don't want to discuss the trial?"




"That's correct," he said, and hung up. He sat thinking for a long time before he went back to his computer.



Salander followed the instructions she had received and drove her Kawasaki across the bridge to Hedeby Island. She stopped at the first little house on the left. She was really out in the sticks. But as long as her employer was paying, she did not mind if she went to the North Pole. Besides, it was great to give her bike its head on a long ride up the E4. She put the bike on its stand and loosened the strap that held her overnight duffel bag in place.



Blomkvist opened the door and waved to her. He came out and inspected her motorcycle with obvious astonishment.



He whistled. "You're riding a motorbike!"



Salander said nothing, but she watched him intently as he touched the handlebars and tried the accelerator. She did not like anyone touching her stuff. Then she saw his childlike, boyish smile, which she took for a redeeming feature. Most people who were into motorcycles usually laughed at her lightweight bike.



"I had a motorbike when I was nineteen," he said, turning to her. "Thanks for coming up. Come in and let's get you settled."



He had borrowed a camp bed from the Nilssons. Salander took a tour around the cabin, looking suspicious, but she seemed to relax when she could find no immediate signs of any insidious trap. He showed her where the bathroom was.



"In case you want to take a shower and freshen up."



"I have to change. I am not going to wander around in my leathers."



"OK, while you change I'll make dinner."



He sauteed lamb chops in red wine sauce and set the table outdoors in the afternoon sun while Salander showered and changed. She came out barefoot wearing a black camisole and a short, worn denim skirt. The food smelled good, and she put away two stout helpings. Fascinated, Blomkvist sneaked a look at the tattoos on her back.



"Five plus three," Salander said. "Five cases from your Harriet's list and three cases that I think should have been on the list."



"Tell me."



"I've only been on this for eleven days, and I haven't had a chance to dig up all the reports. In some cases the police reports had been put in the national archive, and in others they're still stored in the local police district. I made three day trips to different police districts, but I didn't have time to get to all of them. The five are identified."



Salander put a solid heap of paper on the kitchen table, around 500 pages. She quickly sorted the material into different stacks.



"Let's take them in chronological order." She handed Blomkvist a list.



1949 - REBECKA JACOBSSON, Hedestad (30112)



1954 - MARI HOLMBERG, Kalmar (32018)



1957 - RAKEL LUNDE, Landskrona (32027)



1960 - (MAGDA) LOVISA SJoBERG, Karlstad (32016)



1960 - LIV GUSTAVSSON, Stockholm (32016)



1962 - LEA PERSSON, Uddevalla (31208)



1964 - SARA WITT, Ronneby (32109)



1966 - LENA ANDERSSON, Uppsala (30112)



"The first case in this series is Rebecka Jacobsson, 1949, the details of which you already know. The next case I found was Mari Holmberg, a thirty-two-year-old prostitute in Kalmar who was murdered in her apartment in October 1954. It's not clear exactly when she was killed, since her body wasn't found right away, probably nine or ten days later."



"And how do you connect her to Harriet's list?"



"She was tied up and badly abused, but the cause of death was strangulation. She had a sanitary towel down her throat."



Blomkvist sat in silence for a moment before he looked up the verse that was Leviticus 20:18.



"If a man lies with a woman having her sickness, and uncovers her nakedness, he has made naked her fountain, and she has uncovered the fountain of her blood; both of them shall be cut off from among their people."



Salander nodded.



"Harriet Vanger made the same connection. OK. Next?"



"May 1957, Rakel Lunde, forty-five. She worked as a cleaning woman and was a bit of a happy eccentric in the village. She was a fortune-teller and her hobby was doing Tarot readings, palms, et cetera. She lived outside Landskrona in a house a long way from anywhere, and she was murdered there some time early in the morning. She was found naked and tied to a laundry-drying frame in her back garden, with her mouth taped shut. Cause of death was a heavy rock being repeatedly thrown at her. She had countless contusions and fractures."



"Jesus Christ. Lisbeth, this is fucking disgusting."



"It gets worse. The initials R.L. are correct - you found the Bible quote?"



"Overly explicit. A man or a woman who is a medium or a wizard shall be put to death; they shall be stoned with stones, their blood shall be upon them."



"Then there's Sjoberg in Ranmo outside Karlstad. She's the one Harriet listed as Magda. Her full name was Magda Lovisa, but people called her Lovisa."



Blomkvist listened while Salander recounted the bizarre details of the Karlstad murder. When she lit a cigarette he pointed at the pack, and she pushed it over to him.



"So the killer attacked the animal too?"



"The Leviticus verse says that if a woman has sex with an animal, both must be killed."



"The likelihood of this woman having sex with a cow must be... well, non-existent."



"The verse can be read literally. It's enough that she 'approaches' the animal, which a farmer's wife would undeniably do every day."



"Understood."



"The next case on Harriet's list is Sara. I've identified her as Sara Witt, thirty-seven, living in Ronneby. She was murdered in January 1964, found tied to her bed, subjected to aggravated sexual assault, but the cause of death was asphyxiation; she was strangled. The killer also started a fire, with the probable intention of burning the whole house down to the ground, but part of the fire went out by itself, and the rest was taken care of by the fire service, who were there in a very short time."



"And the connection?"



"Listen to this. Sara Witt was both the daughter of a pastor and married to a pastor. Her husband was away that weekend."



"And the daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by playing the harlot, profanes her father; she shall be burned with fire. OK. That fits on the list. You said you'd found more cases."



"I've found three other women who were murdered under such similarly strange circumstances and they could have been on Harriet's list. The first is a young woman named Liv Gustavsson. She was twenty-two and lived in Farsta. She was a horse-loving girl - she rode in competitions and was quite a promising talent. She also owned a small pet shop with her sister. She was found in the shop. She had worked late on the bookkeeping and was there alone. She must have let the killer in voluntarily. She was raped and strangled to death."



"That doesn't sound quite like Harriet's list, does it?"



"Not exactly, if it weren't for one thing. The killer concluded his barbarities by shoving a parakeet up her vagina and then let all the animals out into the shop. Cats, turtles, white mice, rabbits, birds. Even the fish in the aquarium. So it was quite an appalling scene her sister encountered in the morning."



Blomkvist made a note.



"She was murdered in August 1960, four months after the murder of the farmer's wife Magda Lovisa in Karlstad. In both instances they were women who worked professionally with animals, and in both cases there was an animal sacrifice. The cow in Karlstad may have survived - but I can imagine it would be difficult to stab a cow to death with a knife. A parakeet is more straightforward. And besides, there was an additional animal sacrifice."



"What?"



Salander told the story of the "pigeon murder" of Lea Persson. Blomkvist sat for so long in silence and in thought that even Salander grew impatient.



"I'll buy your theory," he said at last. "There's one case left."



"A case that I discovered by chance. I don't know how many I may have missed."



"Tell me about it."



"February 1966 in Uppsala. The victim was a seventeen-year-old gymnast called Lena Andersson. She disappeared after a class party and was found three days later in a ditch on the Uppsala plain, quite a way out of town. She had been murdered somewhere else and her body dumped there. This murder got a lot of attention in the media, but the true circumstances surrounding her death were never reported. The girl had been grotesquely tortured. I read the pathologist's report. She was tortured with fire. Her hands and breasts were atrociously burned, and she had been burned repeatedly at various spots all over her body. They found paraffin stains on her, which showed that candles had been used, but her hands were so charred that they must have been held over a more powerful fire. Finally, the killer sawed off her head and tossed it next to the body."



Blomkvist blanched. "Good Lord," he said.



"I can't find any Bible quote that fits, but there are several passages that deal with a fire offering and a sin offering, and in some places it's recommended that the sacrificial animal - most often a bull - be cut up in such a way that the head is severed from the fat. Fire also reminds me of the first murder, of Rebecka here in Hedestad."



Towards evening when the mosquitoes began to swarm they cleared off the garden table and moved to the kitchen to go on with their talk.



"The fact that you didn't find an exact Bible quotation doesn't mean much. It's not a matter of quotations. This is a grotesque parody of what is written in the Bible - it's more like associations to quotations pulled out of context."



"I agree. It isn't even logical. Take for example the quote that both have to be cut off from their people if someone has sex with a girl who's having her period. If that's interpreted literally, the killer should have committed suicide."



"So where does all this lead?" Blomkvist wondered aloud.



"Your Harriet either had quite a strange hobby or else she must have known that there was a connection between the murders."



"Between 1949 and 1966, and maybe before and after as well. The idea that an insanely sick sadistic serial killer was slaughtering women for at least seventeen years without anyone seeing a connection sounds utterly unbelievable to me."



Salander pushed back her chair and poured more coffee from the pot on the stove. She lit a cigarette. Mikael cursed himself and stole another from her.



"No, it's not so unbelievable," she said, holding up one finger. "We have several dozen unsolved murders of women in Sweden during the twentieth century. That professor of criminology, Persson, said once on TV that serial killers are very rare in Sweden, but that probably we have had some that were never caught."



She held up another finger.



"These murders were committed over a very long period of time and all over the country. Two occurred close together in 1960, but the circumstances were quite different - a farmer's wife in Karlstad and a twenty-two-year-old in Stockholm."



Three fingers.



"There is no immediately apparent pattern. The murders were carried out at different places and there is no real signature, but there are certain things that do recur. Animals. Fire. Aggravated sexual assault. And, as you pointed out, a parody of Biblical quotations. But it seems that not one of the investigating detectives interpreted any of the murders in terms of the Bible."



Blomkvist was watching her. With her slender body, her black camisole, the tattoos, and the rings piercing her face, Salander looked out of place, to say the least, in a guest cottage in Hedeby. When he tried to be sociable over dinner, she was taciturn to the point of rudeness. But when she was working she sounded like a professional to her fingertips. Her apartment in Stockholm might look as if a bomb had gone off in it, but mentally Salander was extremely well organised.



"It's hard to see the connection between a prostitute in Uddevalla who's killed in an industrial yard and a pastor's wife who is strangled in Ronneby and has her house set on fire. If you don't have the key that Harriet gave us, that is."



"Which leads to the next question," Salander said.



"How on earth did Harriet get mixed up in all this? A sixteen-year-old girl who lived in a really sheltered environment."



"There's only one answer," Salander said. "There must be some connection to the Vanger family."



By 11:00 that night they had gone over the series of murders and discussed the conceivable connections and the tiny details of similarity and difference so often that Blomkvist's head was spinning. He rubbed his eyes and stretched and asked Salander if she felt like a walk. Her expression suggested that she thought such practices were a waste of time, but she agreed. Blomkvist advised her to change into long trousers because of the mosquitoes.



They strolled past the small-boat harbour and then under the bridge and out towards Martin Vanger's point. Blomkvist pointed out the various houses and told her about the people who lived in them. He had some difficulty when they came to Cecilia Vanger's house. Salander gave him a curious look.



They passed Martin Vanger's motor yacht and reached the point, and there they sat on a rock and shared a cigarette.



"There's one more connection," Blomkvist said suddenly. "Maybe you've already thought of it."



"What?"



"Their names."



Salander thought for a moment and shook her head.



"They're all Biblical names."



"Not true," she said. "Where is there a Liv or Lena in the Bible?"



"They are there. Liv means to live, in other words Eva. And come on - what's Lena short for?"



Salander grimaced in annoyance. He had been quicker than she was. She did not like that.

Source: www.StudyNovels.com