I would like to comment on a discussion that was taking place here a couple of days ago regarding women and mystery books.
I think the members were all of the male gender, but am not sure. As a longtime female reader of mysteries and crime fiction I would like to say that romance is definitely NOT what I look for in a book. I do much prefer stories with interesting female characters.
Having picked up a couple of unknown authors' books and found absolutely no women in the stories does make me lose interest quickly. Thanks for "listening".

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Hi Anne! Who are your favorite writers? Do you strictly like books where the main characters are women? You say you don't like romance, but what do you look for? Do you like "cozy" mysteries or are you looking for a "hardboiled" woman? A lot of my favorite writers are men, but many of the books I like by those men do have strong female characters. One of my favorite Elmore Leonard books is "Out of Sight," with a female US deputy marshal.
Oh, hell's bells, I need to read that. You've done it again, J.
Did I mention I'm now reading "Witsec: Inside the Federal Witness Protection Program" by Pete Earley? Oh, and if you want to read a great short story about a female deputy marshal, my short story "The Big Bash" is about a sting going wrong. It's in "Deadfall: Crime Stories by New England Writers" http://www.levelbestbooks.com/Deadfall.html :-)
I read that Pete Earley book -- it's pretty good as a resource, but I wish it had more 'insider' info...
OUT OF SIGHT is one of Leonard's better efforts. (That's high praise from me.) THE HOT KID also has a kick-ass female lead.
I'm occasionally bothered by female authors preferring female leads. I tend to read such books looking for examples of the author's wish-fullfillment fantasies. :) It's absolutely amazing how many women like their alter ego to be of the kick-ass variety while still enjoying generous helpings of sex from slightly dumb but gorgeous hunks (frequently members of the police department). Evanovich's success may be due to the fact that her heroine has two hunks at her disposal.
Do you not see wish-fulfillment fantasies in male leads written by male authors? They're all hard as nails, great in bed, steely-eyed defenders of the weak and helpless, completely immune to emotion, able to climb Mount Everest with a bullet in their leg -- I could go on, but you get the idea...

All my characters are a form of wish-fulfillment. The trick is not to make them fulfill boring wishes.
You are right about the manly superheroes.

And I don't do wish-fulfillment. Maybe that's my problem.
:) Well, I have a hard time identifying totally and in every respect with a male protagonist. Akitada is a composite of some of the good and interesting men I have known or observed or read about. Strangely, I also don't identify with his wife or the women he loved. And while there is sex in the novels, it always says something about him as a person. Except in one case when his wife shocks the daylights out of him. In that case, her behavior reveals something about her.

And thanks!
Minerva's cracking me up with these lists. I'm happy to say again the my detective has none of these attributes, though his sidekick--a woman--has three out of five.
I dunno, I got the impression that Coffin was pretty adequate between the sheets... :P


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