Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I recently stumbled across a foreign edition Nancy Drew reference in an unexpected place - in the best selling thriller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson. At one point a journalist is researching the September 1966 disappearance of a teenage girl named Harriet Vanger and investigates her father's cabin. An excerpt from page 319 reads:

Of the books, about half were mystery paperbacks from Wahlström's Manhattan series: Mickey Spillane with titles like Kiss Me, Deadly with classic covers by Bertil Hegland. He found half a dozen Kitty books, some Famous Five nivels by Enid Blyton , and a Twin Mystery by Sivar Ahlrud...

While I was reading this, I smiled a little to myself at the reference to Bertil Hegland, who was the illustrator for the original Swedish translations of Nancy Drew, but my smile only got wider when I saw that Kitty was mentioned in the next sentence! By the way the name is simply thrown out, with no explanation of who Kitty is (i.e., doesn't need any extra information such as the name of the author, as in Enid Blyton) that leads me to believe that Kitty is pretty universally known in Sweden, similar to the way that Nancy Drew is a commonplace cultural reference in the US, even for people who have never read any of her mysteries.

To accompany this post I am uploading the cover of Kitty och nyckelmysteriet (The Clue of the Black Keys) which is the Swedish translation that was published in 1966, the year of Harriet Vanger's disappearance. Naturally the cover is one of Bertil Hegland's.


  1. Longshot, but worth a try...

    I don't suppose you have any of those "Kitty" books for sale, do you? I tried to send an email to the address on the "foreign sales" website, but I got a Failure Notice.

    Not surprising, since the last update said 2005. But I've been dying to find a "Kitty" book for a friend of mine.

  2. Yes I do have some Kitty books for sale - try a message to DruGruen@hotmail.com and I'll see what's on my shelf

  3. I just watched the Swedish film production of this book and waited with bated breath during the scene in the cottage to see if they would have some Kittys on the bookshelf, but apparently this detail was omitted. Too bad!