Well, what do we know about her? This girl, or even woman, disappeared more than forty years ago. Some people say that she was murdered, whereas, in fact, Mikael learned that she left her home after her father and brother raped her. Also, he discovered that she moved to a sheep ranch in Australia by ship. Harriet is the biggest mystery in a book; she was the one who was popular and never seen. While, for most of the novel, the other characters think she's long-dead, Blomkvist is skeptical at first. But of course, when he begins realizing that her father Gottfried Vanger was a serial killer, he believes it too.
Harriet Vanger in the Essays