The personal file that the agency had copied to him when he agreed to serve as her guardian had been a mere fifteen pages that mainly presented a picture of her adult life, a summary of the assessment made by the court-appointed psychiatrists, the district court's ruling to place her under guardianship, and her bank statements for the preceding year.


He had read the file over and over. Then he had begun systematically to gather information on Salander's life.


As a lawyer he was well practiced in extracting information from the records of public authorities. As her guardian he was able to penetrate the layers of confidentiality surrounding her medical records. He could get hold of every document he wanted that dealt with Salander.


It had nevertheless taken months to put together her life, detail by detail, from her first elementary school reports to social workers' reports to police reports and transcripts from the district court. He had discussed her condition with Dr. Jesper H. Loderman, the psychiatrist who on her eighteenth birthday had recommended that she be institutionalized. Loderman gave him a rundown of the case. Everyone was helpful. A woman at the welfare agency had even praised him for showing such determination to understand every aspect of Salander's life.


He found a real gold mine of information in the form of two notebooks in a box gathering dust in the archive of the Guardianship Agency. The notebooks had been compiled by Bjurman's predecessor, the lawyer Holger Palmgren, who had apparently come to know Salander as well as or better than anyone. Palmgren had conscientiously submitted a report each year to the agency, and Bjurman supposed Salander had probably not known that Palmgren also made meticulous notes for himself. Palmgren's notebooks had ended up with the Guardianship Agency, where it seemed no-one had read their contents since he had suffered a stroke two years earlier.


They were the originals. There was no indication that copies had ever been made. Perfect.


Palmgren's picture of Salander was completely different from what could be deduced from the welfare agency's report. He had been able to follow her laborious progress from unruly teenager to young woman to employee at Milton Security - a job she had obtained through Palmgren's own contacts. Bjurman learned from these notes that Salander was by no means a slow-witted office junior who did the photocopying and made coffee. On the contrary, she had a real job, carrying out real investigations for Dragan Armansky, Milton's CEO. Palmgren and Armansky obviously knew each other well and exchanged information about their protegee from time to time.


Salander seemed to have only two friends in her life. Palmgren was out of the picture now. Armansky remained, and could possibly be a threat. Bjurman decided to steer clear of Armansky.


The notebooks had explained a lot. Bjurman understood how Salander had discovered so much about him. He could not for the life of him see how she had found out about his visit to the plastic surgery clinic in France, but much of the mystery surrounding her had vanished. She made her living burrowing into other people's lives. He at once took fresh precautions with his own investigations and decided that since Salander had access to his apartment, it was not a good idea to keep any papers there that dealt with her case. He gathered all the documentation and filled a cardboard box to take to his summer cabin near Stallarholmen, where he was spending more and more of his time in solitary brooding.


The more he read about Salander, the more convinced he became that she was pathologically unwell. He shuddered to remember how she had handcuffed him to his bed. He had been totally under her control then, and he did not doubt that she would make good her threat to kill him if he provoked her.


She lacked social inhibitions, one of her reports stated. Well, he could conclude a stage or two further: she was a sick, murderous, insane fucking person. A loose cannon. A whore.


***


Palmgren's notebooks had provided Bjurman with the final key. On several occasions he had recorded very personal diary-type accounts of conversations that he had had with Salander. A crazy old man. In two of these conversations he had used the expression "when 'All The Evil' happened." Presumably Palmgren had borrowed the expression directly from Salander, but it was not clear what event it referred to.


Bjurman wrote down the words All The Evil. The years in foster homes? Some particular attack? The explanation ought to be there in the documentation to which he already had access.


He opened the psychiatric assessment of Salander as an eighteen-year-old and read it through for the fifth or sixth time. There had to be a gap in his knowledge.


He had excerpts from journal entries from elementary school, an affidavit to the effect that Salander's mother was incapable of taking care of her, and reports from various foster homes during her teens.


Something had set off the madness when she was twelve.


There were other gaps in her biography.


He discovered to his great surprise that Salander had a twin sister who had not been referred to in any of the material to which he had previously had access. My God, there are two of them. But he could not find any reference to what had happened to the sister.


The father was unknown, and there was no explanation as to why her mother could not take care of her. Bjurman had supposed that she had become ill and that as a result the whole process had begun, including the spells in the children's psychiatric unit. But now he was sure that something had happened to Salander when she was twelve or thirteen. All The Evil. A trauma of some kind. But there was no indication in Palmgren's notes as to what "All The Evil" could have been.


In the psychiatric assessment he finally found a reference to an attachment that was missing - the number of a police report dated March 12, 1991. It was handwritten in the margin of the copy from the social welfare agency archive. When he put in a request for the report he was told that it was stamped "TOP SECRET by Order of His Royal Highness," but that he could file an appeal with the relevant government department.


Bjurman was stymied. The fact that a police report dealing with a twelve-year-old girl was classified was not in itself surprising - there could be all manner of reasons for the protection of privacy. But he was Salander's guardian and had the right to study any document at all which concerned her. He could not understand why gaining access to such a report should require an appeal to a government department.


He submitted his application. Two months passed before he was informed that his request had been denied. What could there be in a police report almost fourteen years old about so young a girl to classify it as top secret? What possible threat could it contain to Sweden's government?


He returned to Palmgren's diary, trying to tease out what might be meant by "All The Evil." But he found no clue. It had to have been discussed between Palmgren and his ward but never written down. The references to "All The Evil" came at the end of the second notebook. Perhaps Palmgren had never had time to write up his own conclusions about this apparently crucial series of events before he had his stroke.


Palmgren had been Salander's trustee from her thirteenth birthday and her guardian from the day she turned eighteen. So he had been involved shortly after "All The Evil" had taken place and Salander was put away in the children's psychiatric unit. Chances were that he knew about everything that had happened.


Bjurman went back to the archive of the Guardianship Agency, this time to find the detailed brief of Palmgren's assignment, drawn up by the social welfare agency. At first glance the description was disappointing: two pages of background information. Salander's mother was now incapable of bringing up her daughter; the two children had to be separated; Camilla Salander was placed through the social welfare agency in a foster family; Lisbeth Salander was confined at St.Stefan's children's psychiatric clinic. No alternative was discussed.


Why? Only a cryptic formulation: "In view of the events of 3/12/91 the social welfare agency has determined that... " Then again a reference to the classified police report. But here there was the name of the policeman who wrote the report.


Bjurman registered the name with shock. He knew it well. Indeed he knew it very well, and this discovery put matters in a wholly new light. It still took him two more months to get the report, this time via completely different methods. It consisted of forty-seven pages of A4, with a dozen or so pages of notes that were added over a six-year period. And finally the photographs. And the name.


My God...  it can't be possible.


Now he realized why the report had been stamped top secret.


There was one other person who had reason to hate Salander with the same passion as he did.


He had an ally, the most improbable ally he could have imagined.


Bjurman was roused from his reverie by a shadow falling across the table at Cafe Hedon. He looked up and saw a blond...  giant was the only word for him. For a few seconds he recoiled before he regained his composure.


The man looking down at him stood more than six foot six and had an exceptionally powerful build. A bodybuilder without a doubt. Bjurman could not see a hint of fat. The man made a terrifying impression. His blond hair was cropped close at the sides with a short shock left on top. He had an oval, oddly soft, almost childlike face. His ice-blue eyes, however, were not remotely gentle. He was dressed in a midlength black leather jacket, blue shirt, black tie, and black trousers. The last thing Bjurman noticed was his hands. If all of the rest of him was large, his hands were enormous.


"Advokat Bjurman?"


He spoke with some European accent, but his voice was so peculiarly high-pitched that Bjurman was tempted to smile. With difficulty he kept his expression neutral and nodded.


"We got your letter."


"Who are you? I wanted to meet... "


The man with the enormous hands was already sitting opposite Bjurman and cut him off.


"You'll have to meet me instead. Tell me what you want."


Bjurman hesitated. He disliked intensely the idea of having to be at the mercy of a stranger. But it was a necessity. He reminded himself that he was not alone in having a grudge against Salander. It was a question of recruiting allies. In a low voice he explained his business.


CHAPTER 3


Friday, December 17 - Saturday, December 18


Salander woke at 7:00 a.m., showered, and went down to see Freddy McBain at the front desk to ask if there was a dune buggy she could rent for the day. Ten minutes later she had paid the deposit, adjusted the seat and rearview mirror, test-started it, and checked that there was fuel in the tank. She went into the bar and ordered a caffe latte and a cheese sandwich for breakfast, and a bottle of mineral water to take with her. She spent breakfast scribbling figures on a paper napkin and pondering Pierre de Fermat's (x3 + y3 = z3).


Just after 8:00 Dr. Forbes came into the bar. He was freshly shaven and dressed in a dark suit, white shirt, and blue tie. He ordered eggs, toast, orange juice, and black coffee. At 8:30 he got up and walked out to a waiting taxi.


Salander followed at a suitable distance. Forbes left the taxi below Seascape at the start of the Carenage and strolled along the water's edge. She drove past him, parked near the centre of the harbour promenade, and waited patiently until he passed her before she followed him again.


By 1:00 p.m. Salander was drenched with sweat and her feet were swollen. For four hours she had walked up one street in St.George's and down another. Her pace had been leisurely, but she never stopped. The steep hills began to strain her muscles. She was astonished at Forbes' energy as she drank the last drops of her mineral water. She had begun to think of giving up the project when suddenly he turned towards the Turtleback. She gave him ten minutes before she too entered the restaurant and sat outside on the veranda. They both sat in the same places as the day before, and just as he had done then, he drank a Coca-Cola as he stared at the harbour.


Forbes was one of very few people on Grenada in a suit and tie. He seemed untroubled by the heat.


At 3:00 he disturbed Salander's train of thought by paying and leaving the restaurant. He walked unhurriedly along the Carenage and hopped on one of the minibuses heading out to Grand Anse.


Salander parked outside the Keys Hotel five minutes before the bus dropped him off. She went to her room, ran a bath with cold water, and stretched out in it, frowning deeply.


The day's exertions - her feet were still aching - had given her a clear message. Every morning Forbes left the hotel dressed for battle with his briefcase, yet he spent the day doing absolutely nothing except killing time. Whatever he was doing on Grenada, he was not planning the building of a new school, and yet he wanted to give the impression that he was on the island for business.


Then why all this theatre?


The only person he might want to hide something from in this connection was his wife, who presumably thought that he was extremely busy during the day. But why? Had the deal fallen through and he was too proud to admit it? Did he have another objective on this visit to the island? Was he waiting for something, or someone?


Salander had four email messages. The first was from Plague and had been sent only an hour after she had written to him. The message was encrypted and posed the question: "Are you really alive?" Plague had never been much for writing rambling, sentimental emails. Nor, for that matter, had Salander.


Two further emails had been sent around 2:00 a.m. One was from Plague, also encrypted, telling her that an Internet acquaintance who went by the name of Bilbo, who apparently lived in Texas, had snapped up her enquiry. Plague attached Bilbo's address and PGP key. Minutes later Bilbo emailed her from a hotmail address. The message said only that Bilbo would send the data on Dr. Forbes and his wife within twenty-four hours.


The fourth email was also from Bilbo, sent late that afternoon. It contained an encrypted bank account number and an FTP address. Salander opened the URL and found a Zip file of 390 KB, which she extracted and saved. It was a folder containing four low-resolution photographs and five Word documents.

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