News about Stieg Larsson's next book
The way Stieg Larsson's father tells it, there is another book in the Millennium series, which started with "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." He's seen it. He's held it. Larsson's father, Erland, and brother Joakim will appear on "CBS Sunday Morning" on Sunday to tell the story of the controversial manuscript.
Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy, which also includes "The Girl Who Played With Fire" and "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest," has been an international bestseller. It's the kind of success any author would welcome, and doubtless, Larsson would have continued to add to the series if he hadn't died in 2004 of a heart attack at age 50, shortly before "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" was published.
"I got the e-mail from Stieg 10 days before he died where he wrote book number four is nearly finished," brother Joakim says in the Sunday interview, according to a CBS News press release.
Larsson's family and his girlfriend of 32 years, Eva Gabrielsson, have been at odds over the author's estate. A report in our pages last year said:
When Larsson died, everyone assumed Gabrielsson would be his heir; Erland and Joakim were surprised to learn the estate was theirs by default. They say they were prepared to turn Larsson's assets over to her at the beginning, but she publicly declared she didn't want any money from them and would speak to them only through a lawyer.
After Larsson's books were published, his family says, Gabrielsson sent a letter through her attorney demanding all rights to his work, which struck them as unreasonable.
"She wanted some part of the economic rights -- no problem," Joakim said. "But she wanted all the moral rights. And for that, we have to discuss."
They are annoyed by suggestions that they've been blinded by greed over an estate estimated to be worth $20 million and counting. (No one knows, or says, for sure.)
It has long been known that there was a manuscript for a fourth book, but there have been varied reports of how long and how complete it might be. It was thought to have been on Stieg Larsson's laptop, which was in the possession of Gabrielsson, who the family wasn't communicating with. How exactly has Erland held the manuscript?
Perhaps on Sunday family members will explain what they've seen. Is the book making its way to publication? When can Americans expect to see it on shelves?
"I'm as curious as the rest of the world," Paul Bogaards, executive director of public relations at Knopf, Larsson's publisher, told The Times. "It's a subject of much speculation among Larsson readers. At some point, one hopes that there is a finality to the question about the fourth book."
Larsson's original plan for the Millennium Trilogy is said to have been a 10-book series. Rumors of outlines and titles of the remaining books have swirled. On Sunday, Joakim adds this bit to the mix: "And to make it more complicated, this book number four [is] book number five, because he thought that [it] was more fun to write than book number four."
-- Carolyn Kellogg
Photo: Author Stieg Larsson's father, Erland, left, and his brother Joakim in November 2009. Credit: Rob Schoenbaum