Stieg Larsson Silent as Real-Life Lisbeth Raped

Most readers assume Larsson saw himself as the gregarious over-sexed Blomkvist, but that was not the case, according to Baksi.

"He was very jealous of Blomkvist, who was a respected journalist who makes a lot of money and has a lot of women," he said. "He'd like to be like him."

Larsson "ended up being like [Mozart's] Salieri -- his alter ego," said his friend.

In fact, Larsson was more like Lisbeth Salander. Both shared a distrust of police and preferred not to talk about the past and were bad eaters, living on junk food.

Like Salander, he drank up to 20 cups of coffee a day and smoked two to three packs of cigarettes. Friends never knew Larsson was working on the three crime novels, mostly working between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Though Salander was a whiz at mathematics, even attempting to solve Fermat's Theorem, Larsson was notoriously bad with money, nearly bankrupting Expo.

According to Baksi, Larsson hoped the eventual success of his books would help fund the magazine.

Born in 1954, the son of a decorator and a shop worker who often moved, Larsson was adopted by his maternal grandfather at the age of 8 and lived with him in the north of Sweden until he was 18.

As a teen, Larsson got involved in Trotskyism -- an interest that bonded him with Baksi. Those who knew Larsson said he began writing the first book of the trilogy in 1997.

Two other events shaped the narratives: In 2001, model Melissa Nordell was killed by her Swedish boyfriend when she tried to break off the relationship. That same year, Fadime Sahindal, a Swedish-Kurdish woman, was murdered by her father because she wanted to lead her own life.

Though Larsson wrote on weighty topics like honor killings, racism and exploitation of women, he wanted to become a bestselling author, according to Baksi.

"He knew he needed a lot violence to sell the books," said Baksi. "He used to say, you can't sell books if you are like the Dalai Lama."

His father had worked in the cinema and Larsson was able to watch American films for free, becoming a fan of Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" and George Lucas' "Star Wars," thrilling films that may have helped shape his twisting plots.

For all Larsson's condemnation of American politics and unrestrained capitalism, he loved American food, especially McDonald's.

"Every time he ate at McDonald's, he wouldn't drink the Coke, he'd drink water, just to underline that he's not too American," Baksi. "He was a leftist Trotsky guy, but he'd eat french fries."

Larsson once told Baksi he had "10 books in my head."


Eva Gabrielsson Feud With Larsson Family Persists

Eva Gabrielsson, the writer's partner of more than 20 years, reportedly holds Larsson's computer and the fragment of a fourth science fiction novel.

Gabrielsson, the model for Blomkvist's sometimes lover, Erika Berger, did not inherit the rights to his works or any part of his $30 million estate.

His widow is now embroiled in a fight with Larsson's father and younger brother, Erland and Joakim Larsson, and Baksi has offered to intervene and "sit down to lunch" with the trio.

"We must find a solution, but Eva doesn't like to listen and compromise," he said. "It's terrible."

"The latest thinking is that the book could be completed," said Barry Forshaw, who published this year the first Larsson biography, "The Man Who Left Too Soon." "There's a beginning and an end, but no middle."

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