The level of intrigue and intense fascination surrounding the fate of Stieg Larsson’s unfinished fourth and final Millennium novel has become a mystery worthy of Lisbeth Salander herself. But alas today’s flurry of reports about the imminent posthumous publication of a fourth and final Millennium novel were inaccurate and premature. “There is no fourth book from Stieg Larsson on the horizon,” said Paul Bogaards, Senior VP of Publicity, Promotion and Media Relations at Alfred A. Knopf. “Only the estate, controlled by his family (Joakim and Erland Larsson), can authorize publication of a fourth book, and they have no intention of doing so at the moment.”
The source of the brushfire of speculation (and hopeful blogging) appears to have originated with a leaked copy of Eva Gabrielsson’s upcoming memoir, Stieg and Me (due to be published this week in France and Scandinavia and on June 21 in the U.S.). The Guardian quotes Gabrielsson saying that she hopes to finish the fourth Millennium installment and feels entitled to do so because “Stieg and I often wrote together.”
Be that as it may, Gabrielsson is clearly engaging in a little wishful thinking of her own, given that she is not in a position to make any legally binding decisions concerning Larsson’s literary legacy. That right rests solely and solidly with the author’s father and brother, Erland and Joakim Larsson, who inherited full control over Stieg’s estate when he died in 2004. However Gabrielsson, continues to contest the Larssons’ jurisdiction over Stieg’s work, based on her thirty-two year relationship with the author. However, because they never officially married, Gabrielsson has no legal right to anything in Stieg Larsson’s estate — and that includes publishing a book with his name on it as author.
Still, the door has not been completely slammed shut on the prospect of that mythical fourth Millennium novel ever finding it’s way into print. It’s clear from the ambiguous language in Random House’s statement (i.e. “on the horizon” and “at the moment”) that the keepers of the Stieg flame have not ruled out coming to an agreement with Gabrielsson (who claims she possesses the laptop containing the unpublished manuscript). But, for the time being, that horizon is still too far off to see clearly.