Summary and Analysis Part 3: Mergers: Chapter 20



After returning to Hedeby, Blomkvist immediately checks in with Frode regarding Vanger's condition. Once he's reassured that Vanger has stabilized and improved, he discusses with Frode the type of power Martin has over Millennium as long as Vanger's in the hospital. Frode reminds Blomkvist that Frode, not Martin, would inherit Vanger's shares were Vanger to die, and that Frode is on Blomkvist's side.

Later that day, Blomkvist stops by Martin's house to assure him that the journalist is not leaving town, despite Martin's suggestion that Millennium needs Blomkvist in order to continue improving. Martin allows for Blomkvist's determination to follow Vanger's orders, but still insists he would like to see Blomkvist back in Stockholm.

That evening, Salander arrives, and Blomkvist and Salander go over her findings. Salander's research reveals three more murders that tie into passages from Leviticus, all of which could have just as easily appeared on Harriet's list. As they discuss the gruesome details of the murders, the investigators discover another link. Besides the brutality and sexual violence present in each case, all of the women's names are not only biblical, but also traditional Jewish names. After a long night mulling over the possibilities, Salander insists she stay on the case and Blomkvist says he'll make sure Frode hires her as an assistant for the next month.


Chapter 20 solidifies Blomkvist and Salander's trust in each other, and uses allusions to the Bible and Judaism to connect Salander to other women in the novel and to connect with the Vanger family's anti-Semitic past. First, Salander's arrival on Hedeby Island firmly establishes her and Blomkvist as a team. Throughout their evening of ruminating on Salander's findings, both of them surprise the other by being quicker to an idea. Salander astonishes Blomkvist with her research on the surprising number of unsolved murders of women; Blomkvist astounds Salander by making the connections between all the women's names. Through these moments, Salander and Blomkvist begin to see each other not only as equals, but also as full partners in solving the crime.

Secondly, Chapter 20 recalls and adds to the allusions to the Bible and Judaism that were present earlier in the novel. The biblical references recall the connection between Harriet and Pernilla and create a connection between these two young, religious women to Salander, who on her own also studies the Bible, albeit to solve a crime. Salander is also connected to the women she discovers because of her own experiences. Because the reader knows, at least in part, what Salander has suffered, the reason why she wants to help Blomkvist is evident — not only for the thrill of uncovering secrets, but also to bring justice to these women who couldn't, unlike Salander, seek revenge against the person who violated them.

Finally, the murder victims' Jewish names connect to the Vanger family's troubled history with Judaism. Most importantly, these names call up suspects in the case: Harald, as well as his father, are known for their support of Nazism. This connection inspires Salander and Blomkvist to wonder if other younger members of the Vanger clan may have been influenced by their views.