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So far, more than 2.5 million Europeans have seen the movie, and No Country For Old Men producer Scott Rudin has just inked a deal to make the Hollywood version.
By the time Rudin has finished, many millions more will have followed the story of investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist and chaotic, freewheeling computer hacker Lisbeth Salander.
Larsson himself was a campaigning anti-Nazi journalist who set up his own version of the British anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, so you can see why he’d take this path.
Mankell, however, was a well-established mainstream author before he created Wallander.
In Larsson and Mankel’s stories, both men encounter Neo-Nazis who collude with Sapo, the Swedish version of MI5 and MI6 combined.
In their version of Sweden, racism is rife, violence against women is commonplace, while the trafficking of children for sex is facilitated by highly placed lawyers and doctors.
“Wallender was born in May 1989 out of a need to talk about xenophobia. “I was writing the first novel out of anger at what was happening in Sweden at the time – the rise of xenophobia. And, since acts of xenophobia are a crime, I needed a police officer.In pop, on the other hand, Swede Max Martin has ruled the charts for the past 10 years – writing hits such as Baby One More Time for Britney Spears; I Kissed a Girl for Katy Perry and So What for Pink.Now there’s a surge of interest in Swedish crime fiction, perhaps prompted by the BBC’s wildly successful adaptation of the Wallander series of crime novels by Swedish author Henning Mankel, which stars Kenneth Branagh as the grumpy policeman.Throughout the book version, Larsson keeps dropping genuine figures relating to violent crimes against women in Sweden.The Swedish title for the book is Men Who Hate Women, and footnotes quote real-life incidents to explain how the fictional Salander – whose civil rights are removed at the whim of a judge – is based on real incidents.
In fact, I think it will do well at the next election, under a different name.