The Woman Who Inherits Nothing

Finally, after much coverage of the story all around the world, the plight of Eva Gabrielsson, the longtime partner of bestselling Swedish novelist Stieg Larsson, gets some extended play in the English-language press, specifically the Times of London:

Relatives of Stieg Larsson, the bestselling Swedish novelist whose posthumous
international appeal has made him the toast of the publishing industry, are
locked in a bitter dispute over an inheritance worth millions and a laptop

The legal battle between Larsson’s girlfriend and his father and brother could
have been plucked from the pages of his three crime novels and is stirring
just as much passion in Sweden, where at least one in three people has read

For months the nation’s attention has been focused on the plight of Eva
Gabrielsson, a 54-year-old architectural historian. She lived with Larsson
for 30 years until his death in 2004 but has inherited none of the estimated
£10m he has earned since because they were not married.

“I think it’s a great injustice,” Gabrielsson said last week. “It would have
been beyond Stieg’s worst nightmares to know that someone other than me was
handling the rights to his books and to know that the money we planned to
invest is gone.”

Gabrielsson is campaigning for a change in Swedish law that would allow common-law partners to inherit in the absence of a will, as was the case with her. Chances are that Gabrielsson herself wouldn’t benefit from such a change (if, indeed, it’s ever made) but one group’s effort to help her out has already netted several thousand dollars’ worth of support.

The Youtube clip, by the way, comes from “The Millenium Millions”, a Swedish documentary about Larsson’s life, work and the inheritance battle between Gabrielsson and Stieg’s father Erland and younger brother Joakim. I’m in the midst of watching it and even though my copy has no English subtitles, the gist of the story – and how high the stakes are – is strong enough to merit the repeat broadcasts of the documentary since it first aired a year ago. And now that the film version of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO has bowed at Cannes and is set for release in many countries, including Canada (though there’s no distribution deal in the US as of yet) there’s still another layer to what promises to be a long, drawn-out battle.