Stieg Larsson's Girlfriend Rages in Memoir

Swedish public opinion on Eva Gabrielsson might be shifting in legal battle.

ByABC News
February 18, 2011, 1:34 PM

Feb. 21, 2011— -- The plot keeps thickening in the real-life drama that has played out since the 2004 death of Stieg Larsson, one of the most popular authors of all time, as his family and girlfriend continue to fight it out for the legal rights to his literary legacy.

Eva Gabrielsson, the author's partner of 30 years, has published a memoir, "Millennium, Stieg and Me," that has evoked all the rage of his most memorable character: Lisbeth Salander.

Like the computer hacker Salander, who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of men who hate women, Gabrielsson, 57, has cried loudly that she, too, has been wronged.

Available now in French, Swedish and Norwegian, the book is infused with Biblical revenge and Gabrielsson wrote why: "For Stieg and me, we weren't only familiar with the New Testament and with Jesus who asks one to turn the other cheek; what nourished us was the Old Testament, harsh and violent."

Larsson's "Millennium" trilogy -- "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," "The Girl Who Played With Fire" and "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" -- has sold more than 20 million copies in 41 countries. His blockbuster thrillers last year topped 1 million copies of e-book editions, according to publisher Alfred A. Knopf, joining only one other author, James Patterson.

But Larsson, who died of a heart attack at age 50 after a life of fast food and coffee-fueled work habits, never lived to see the success of his crime novels or the $40 million they have generated. Because he died without a will and Sweden does not recognize common-law marriage, the rights to his estate went to his father and brother, Erland and Joakim Larsson.

Gabrielsson told ABC News in an interview last year that the family supported her when the "Millenium" novels were first published.

"You were his wife, it is not our inheritance, it's yours," Gabrielsson said the family told her. "But something changed them. Something changed then, and I ended up in the position where all Swedish inhabitants are, with nothing."

Gabrielsson said she was "extremely furious that his legacy is being handled like a sack of potatoes, chopped up into chips that are sellable, he would have been furious and he would have gone to a great extent to exact revenge."

Joakim Larsson has said that Gabrielsson has "spread a distorted picture" of his brother.

"If a distorted picture of his childhood and his family relations goes unchallenged, his authorship cannot be correctly understood," his brother wrote in a prepared release. "No single person can have a monopoly on the picture of Stieg Larsson and his life."

The family said they ensured that Larsson's apartment and all his financial assets were given to Gabrielsson after his death, and they "have always wanted Eva to exercise influence over the management of Stieg's texts, but we want to do this jointly with her."