You've probably heard of the Swedish writer Stieg Larsson's Millenium trilogy by now. All three (translated) books made the bestseller lists in the U.S. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo followed by The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest have been available in soft cover for some time now.
I first read about Larsson in The New Yorker a couple of years ago. He wrote this trilogy of mysteries, found a publisher who agreed to publish them and then died of a heart attack (he was only 50) before he saw any of his books in print.
I haven't read the books -- mostly due to a backlog of unread books for the past year -- but hear from people who have how much they enjoyed them. I HAVE now seen the three Swedish films made from the books and I can't recommend them highly enough.
Noomi Rapace is amazing in the role of Lisbeth. Particularly after seeing the movies and then watching an interview with her. The movies were filmed back to back so she inhabited the character of Lisbeth for 18 months. Rapace had to lose weight (Lisbeth is tiny and muscular) and submit to a number of nose and facial piercings, although at least the tattoos were fake. Then there was the grueling physical training necessary to play this character.
These films have subtitles, which I never mind -- I forget about them a few minutes into a movie -- but I know that some people can't stand them. Luckily the DVDs also come with the films dubbed in English so I hope no one lets the subtitles put them off.
I groaned when I first heard that English language versions of the movies were being made. However, after looking into who is involved, they may be worth a look. The director (at least of the first movie) is David Fincher who did a tremendous job bringing The Social Network to the screen. English actor (and most recent James Bond) Daniel Craig has been cast in the role of the journalist and the actress Rooney Mara has been cast as Lisbeth. If you've seen The Social Network, she's the girl who dumps Mark Zuckerberg at the beginning of the movie.
So, some high hopes for the English remake but, in the mean time, if you have the chance, the Swedish version of the trilogy is time well spent.