Which men, if any, write excellent female protagonists [in crime fiction]? This was my question to Meg Gardiner and the panel at the CrimeFest session "Female of The Species – Women In Crime Fiction". And nobody could think of any!
L. C. Tyler (a.k.a. Len) came to my rescue at a coffee break, by reminding me of the excellent Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow, by Peter Hoeg. Len correctly pointed out that this character is superbly and sensitively realised. (We reminisced a bit about the book, which I loved even though I was crushingly disappointed by the last quarter: after the brilliant start and middle, the thriller/science fiction ending just lost me.)
But surely there must be other examples of men who have written good books with female protagonists. Can you think of any? I don't count Stieg Larsson's Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, as that is mainly told from the perspective of journalist Mikael Blomkvist, although I have got the message that Lisbeth Salander features more prominently in subsequent books (yet to be published in English).
I dredged up Robin Cook's Coma from my memory, a breakthrough book which kicked off not only the medical thriller genre but, so far as I recall, was the first full-out thriller to feature the hat trick of female main character, detective, and ultimate solver of the central dilemma. But that book was written in 1977. Even Miss Smilla was published in 1992. Surely there must have been other believable, central, female protags written by men between then and now? Not partnerships, not "members of groups", I mean full-on female equivalents to Harry Bosch, Elvis Cole, Jack Reacher, John Rebus, "E" Morse, Jack Frost et al. Or perhaps I should write, to hammer my point home, equivalents to Jackson Brodie (Kate Atkinson), Thomas Lynley (Elizabeth George), Jimmy Perez (Ann Cleeves), Reg Wexford (Ruth Rendell) et al. Prove me wrong, someone, please.