The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

Page 28

The police had locked her in her hospital room, and a prosecutor intended to charge her with attempted murder and grievous bodily harm. He was amazed that such a small, thin girl had the physical strength for this sort of violent criminality, especially when the violence was directed at full-grown men.

He had asked about her dragon tattoo, hoping to find a personal topic he could discuss with her. He was not particularly interested in why she had decorated herself in such a way, but he supposed that since she had chosen such a striking tattoo, it must have a special meaning for her. He thought simply that it might be a way to start a conversation.

His visits to her were outside his schedule, since Dr Endrin was assigned to her case. But Jonasson was head of the trauma unit, and he was proud of what had been achieved that night when Salander was brought into A.&E. He had made the right decision, electing to remove the bullet. As far as he could see she had no complications in the form of memory lapses, diminished bodily function, or other handicaps from the injury. If she continued to heal at the same pace, she would leave hospital with a scar on her scalp, but with no other visible damage. Scars on her soul were another matter.

Returning to his office he discovered a man in a dark suit leaning against the wall outside his door. He had a thick head of hair and a well-groomed beard.

"Dr Jonasson?"


"My name is Peter Teleborian. I'm the head physician at St Stefan's psychiatric clinic in Uppsala."

"Yes, I recognize you."

"Good. I'd like to have a word in private with you if you have a moment."

Jonasson unlocked the door and ushered the visitor in. "How can I help you?"

"It's about one of your patients, Lisbeth Salander. I need to visit her."

"You'll have to get permission from the prosecutor. She's under arrest and all visitors are prohibited. And any applications for visits must also be referred in advance to Salander's lawyer."

"Yes, yes, I know. I thought we might be able to cut through all the red tape in this case. I'm a physician, so you could let me have the opportunity to visit her on medical grounds."

"Yes, there might be a case for that, but I can't see what your objective is."

"For several years I was Lisbeth Salander's psychiatrist when she was institutionalized at St Stefan's. I followed up with her until she turned eighteen, when the district court released her back into society, albeit under guardianship. I should perhaps mention that I opposed that action. Since then she has been allowed to drift aimlessly, and the consequences are there for all to see today."


"I feel a great responsibility towards her still, and would value the chance to gauge how much deterioration has occurred over the past ten years."


"Compared with when she was receiving qualified care as a teenager. I thought we might be able to come to an understanding here, as one doctor to another."

"While I have it fresh in my mind, perhaps you could help me with a matter I don't quite understand... as one doctor to another, that is. When she was admitted to Sahlgrenska hospital I performed a comprehensive medical examination on her. A colleague sent for the forensic report on the patient. It was signed by a Dr Jesper H. Loderman."

"That's correct. I was Dr Loderman's assistant when he was in practice."

"I see. But I noticed that the report was vague in the extreme."


"It contains no diagnosis. It almost seems to be an academic study of a patient who refuses to speak."

Teleborian laughed. "Yes, she certainly isn't easy to deal with. As it says in the report, she consistently refused to participate in conversations with Dr Loderman. With the result that he was bound to express himself rather imprecisely. Which was entirely correct on his part."

"And yet the recommendation was that she should be institutionalized?"

"That was based on her prior history. We had experience with her pathology compiled over many years."

"That's exactly what I don't understand. When she was admitted here, we sent for a copy of her file from St Stefan's. But we still haven't received it."

"I'm sorry about that. But it's been classified Top Secret by order of the district court."

"And how are we supposed to give her the proper care here if we can't have access to her records? The medical responsibility for her right now is ours, no-one else's."

"I've taken care of her since she was twelve, and I don't think there is any other doctor in Sweden with the same insight into her clinical condition."

"Which is what...?"

"Lisbeth Salander suffers from a serious mental disorder. Psychiatry, as you know, is not an exact science. I would hesitate to confine myself to an exact diagnosis, but she has obvious delusions with distinct paranoid schizophrenic characteristics. Her clinical status also includes periods of manic depression and she lacks empathy."

Jonasson looked intently at Dr Teleborian for ten seconds before he said: "I won't argue a diagnosis with you, Dr Teleborian, but have you ever considered a significantly simpler diagnosis?"

"Such as?"

"For example, Asperger's syndrome. Of course I haven't done a psychiatric evaluation of her, but if I had spontaneously to hazard a guess, I would consider some form of autism. That would explain her inability to relate to social conventions."

"I'm sorry, but Asperger's patients do not generally set fire to their parents. Believe me, I've never met so clearly defined a sociopath."

"I consider her to be withdrawn, but not a paranoid sociopath."

"She is extremely manipulative," Teleborian said. "She acts the way she thinks you would expect her to act."

Jonasson frowned. Teleborian was contradicting his own reading of Salander. If there was one thing Jonasson felt sure about her, it was that she was certainly not manipulative. On the contrary, she was a person who stubbornly kept her distance from those around her and showed no emotion at all. He tried to reconcile the picture that Teleborian was painting with his own image of Salander.

"And you have seen her only for a short period when she has been forced to be passive because of her injuries. I have witnessed her violent outbursts and unreasoning hatred. I have spent years trying to help Lisbeth Salander. That's why I'm here. I propose a co-operation between Sahlgrenska hospital and St Stefan's."

"What sort of co-operation are you talking about?"

"You're responsible for her medical condition, and I'm convinced that it's the best care she could receive. But I'm extremely worried about her mental state, and I would like to be included at an early stage. I'm ready to offer all the help I can."

"I see."

"So I do need to visit her to do a first-hand evaluation of her condition."

"There, unfortunately, I cannot help you."

"I beg your pardon?"

"As I said, she's under arrest. If you want to initiate any psychiatric treatment of her, you'll have to apply to Prosecutor Jervas here in Goteborg. She's the one who makes the decisions on these things. And it would have to be done, I repeat, in co-operation with her lawyer, Annika Giannini. If it's a matter of a forensic psychiatric report, then the district court would have to issue you a warrant."

"It was just that sort of bureaucratic procedure I wanted to avoid."

"Understood, but I'm responsible for her, and if she's going to be taken to court in the near future, we need to have clear documentation of all the measures we have taken. So we're bound to observe the bureaucratic procedures."

"Alright. Then I might as well tell you that I've already received a formal commission from Prosecutor Ekstrom in Stockholm to do a forensic psychiatric report. It will be needed in connection with the trial."

"Then you can also obtain formal access to visit her through the appropriate channels without side-stepping regulations."

"But while we're going backwards and forwards with bureaucracy, there is a risk that her condition may continue to deteriorate. I'm only interested in her wellbeing."

"And so am I," Jonasson said. "And between us, I can tell you that I see no sign of mental illness. She has been badly treated and is under a lot of pressure. But I see no evidence whatsoever that she is schizophrenic or suffering from paranoid delusions."

When at long last he realized that it was fruitless trying to persuade Jonasson to change his mind, Teleborian got up abruptly and took his leave.

Jonasson sat for a while, staring at the chair Teleborian had been sitting in. It was not unusual for other doctors to contact him with advice or opinions on treatment. But that usually happened only with patients whose doctors were already managing their treatment. He had never before seen a psychiatrist land like a flying saucer and more or less demand to be given access to a patient, ignoring all the protocols, and a patient, at that, whom he obviously had not been treating for several years. After a while Jonasson glanced at his watch and saw that it was almost 7.00. He picked up the telephone and called Martina Karlgren, the psychologist at Sahlgrenska who had been made available to trauma patients.

"Hello. I'm assuming you've already left for the day. Am I disturbing you?"

"No problem. I'm at home, but just pottering."

"I'm curious about something. You've spoken to our notorious patient, Lisbeth Salander. Could you give me your impression of her?"

"Well, I've visited her three times and offered to talk with her. Every time she declined in a friendly but firm way."

"What's your impression of her?"

"What do you mean?"

"Martina, I know that you're not a psychiatrist, but you're an intelligent and sensible person. What general impression did you get of her nature, her state of mind?"

After a while Karlgren said: "I'm not sure how I should answer that question. I saw her twice soon after she was admitted, but she was in such wretched shape that I didn't make any real contact with her. Then I visited her about a week ago, at the request of Helena Endrin."

"Why did Helena ask you to visit her?"

"Salander is starting to recover. She mainly just lies there staring at the ceiling. Dr Endrin wanted me to look in on her."

"And what happened?"

"I introduced myself. We chatted for a couple of minutes. I asked how she was feeling and whether she felt the need to have someone to talk to. She said that she didn't. I asked if I could help her with anything. She asked me to smuggle in a pack of cigarettes."

"Was she angry, or hostile?"

"No, I wouldn't say that. She was calm, but she kept her distance. I considered her request for cigarettes more of a joke than a serious need. I asked if she wanted something to read, whether I could bring her books of any sort. At first she said no, but later she asked if I had any scientific journals that dealt with genetics and brain research."

"With what?"



"Yes. I told her that there were some popular science books on the subject in our library. She wasn't interested in those. She said she'd read books on the subject before, and she named some standard works that I'd never heard of. She was more interested in pure research in the field."

"Good grief."

"I said that we probably didn't have any more advanced books in the patient library  -  we have more Philip Marlowe than scientific literature  -  but that I'd see what I could dig up."

"And did you?"

"I went upstairs and borrowed some copies of Nature magazine and The New England Journal of Medicine. She was pleased and thanked me for taking the trouble."

"But those journals contain mostly scholarly papers and pure research."

"She reads them with obvious interest."

Jonasson sat speechless for a moment.

"And how would you rate her mental state?"

"Withdrawn. She hasn't discussed anything of a personal nature with me."

"Do you have the sense that she's mentally ill? Manic depressive or paranoid?"

"No, no, not at all. If I thought that, I'd have sounded the alarm. She's strange, no doubt about it, and she has big problems and is under stress. But she's calm and matter-of-fact and seems to be able to cope with her situation. Why do you ask? Has something happened?"

"No, nothing's happened. I'm just trying to take stock of her."



Blomkvist put his laptop case on the desk. It contained the findings of Olsson, the stringer in Goteborg. He watched the flow of people on Gotgatan. That was one of the things he liked best about his office. Gotgatan was full of life at all hours of the day and night, and when he sat by the window he never felt isolated, never alone.

He was under great pressure. He had kept working on the articles that were to go into the summer issue, but he had finally realized that there was so much material that not even an issue devoted entirely to the topic would be sufficient. He had ended up in the same situation as during the Wennerstrom affair, and he had again decided to publish all the articles as a book. He had enough text already for 150 pages, and he reckoned that the final book would run to 320 or 336 pages.

The easy part was done. He had written about the murders of Svensson and Johansson and described how he happened to be the one who came upon the scene. He had dealt with why Salander had become a suspect. He spent a chapter debunking first what the press had written about Salander, then what Prosecutor Ekstrom had claimed, and thereby indirectly the entire police investigation. After long deliberation he had toned down his criticism of Bublanski and his team. He did this after studying a video from Ekstrom's press conference, in which it was clear that Bublanski was uncomfortable in the extreme and obviously annoyed at Ekstrom's rapid conclusions.

Tip: You can use left and right keyboard keys to browse between pages.