Stieg Larsson, who lived in Sweden, was the editor-in-chief of the magazine Expo and a leading expert on antidemocratic right-wing extremist and Nazi organizations. He died in 2004, shortly after delivering the manuscripts for his Millennium novels, a trilogy of thrillers that became international bestsellers.
Born in Västerbotten in northern Sweden in 1954, Stieg Larsson had a professional career that bears a striking resemblance to that of the protagonist of his Millennium thrillers, Mikael Blomkvist. Beginning as a graphic designer for the news agency Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå (TT), Larsson went on to become the chief editor of Expo, the magazine published by the Expo Foundation, an organization he helped establish in 1995 to combat racism and the Swedish right-wing extremist movement.
Inspired by an old joke shared with a colleague at TT, Larsson admitted he started writing the Millennium novels -- The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and Castles in the Sky (working English title) -- just for fun. Describing them as "pension insurance," Larsson said he enjoyed the process of fiction writing so much that he didn't make contact with a publisher until he had completed the first two and had a third under way. Though Larsson died of a heart attack in 2004 and never saw any of his books in print, all three were subsequently published in Scandinavia and continental Europe to great acclaim. He left behind the unfinished manuscript for a fourth book in the series.