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Sweden: On the "Millennium Trilogy" trail

A Stockholm walking tour visits the sites of Stieg Larsson's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

Cavalieratos attributed Larsson’s celebrity to the novels’ strong writing and memorable characters. The author’s abrupt death prior to their publication also fueled the aura surrounding his works.

“It makes his authorship mythical,” he said. “This tour might be a pilgrimage of sorts. And also at the same time you get to know the city.”

The tourists, clutching maps and sporting backpacks, agreed.

“It was the only thing I wanted to do when I got here,” said Linda Gustafson, an American tourist visiting family in Sweden and one of the lucky three who won a spot through the lottery. “I’m just so invested in these books. It’s just a great mystery.”

“It’s a strange team that Lis and Mikael make,” chimed in Canadian traveler Nadia Boshyk. “I think [Larsson] just told a great story.”

Larsson, a journalist and political activist, never saw any of the money or praise garnered from the novels. In 2004, he suffered a heart attack and died at age 50, a year before the first book in the series was published.

Swedish-version films of the books have already been released to similar success. Not to be outdone, Hollywood is working on its own adaptations, the first of which began filming this month in the capital and Uppsala, a university town about an hour’s drive north of Stockholm.

Ann-Charlotte Jonsson, spokeswoman for the Stockholm Visitors Board, said visits to the capital increased 6 percent this past summer when compared to summer 2009, but she said it is difficult to pinpoint one reason for the uptick.

Besides Larsson’s growing popularity, the royal wedding of Crown Princess Victoria in June and the naming of Stockholm as the winner of the European Green Capital Award have all raised the profile of the city.

“All three of those things have put Stockholm in the limelight,” she said.

IF YOU GO: The two-hour, English-language Millennium Tour starts Saturdays at 11:30 a.m., departing from 1 Bellmansgatan. Tickets are 120 Swedish kronor, about $18, and can be bought at the Stockholm City Museum, the Stockholm Tourist Center, or online at Travelers can also purchase a map of the tour’s route for 40 kronor, about $6, at the Stockholm City Museum or the Stockholm Tourist Center.