There’s a lot of thinking going on in Stieg Larsson’s three Millennium novels. This is especially true when compared to most American detective and mystery fiction. In The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels, we encounter dozens of scenes where characters including Blomkvist, Berger, Bublanski, Figuerola, Salander, Modig, Edklinth, Armansky, and of course even that great woman of action, Lisbeth Salander, spend not just minutes thinking over a problem, but hours.
Even the bad guys are described as engaged in deep contemplation. One Larsson character takes a bath and thinks for so long the water grows cold. Others close the door to their office and think for so long that everyone has left by the time they come out. They sit “as if paralyzed, thinking.” They go for a long run in order to think through a problem. “She sat quietly for two hours, smoking one cigarette after another, thinking.” Armansky spends the whole Easter weekend at his cabin, thinking. Lisbeth stares at her computer screen for eleven hours while an idea emerges in some “unexplored nook of her brain.”
The words “think,” “thinking,” and “thought” appear almost 500 times in the three books.