I don’t know how Alexander McCall Smith does it, but he does. Somehow this man writes very believable female protagonist based books. You may be familiar with his No. 1 Ladies Detective series, based in Africa, but my favorites of his books are in a series called The Sunday Philosophy Club based in Scotland.
The books feature a middle-aged female philosopher who sort of/kind of solves mysteries. I think the books are all smart and am constantly amazed that a man writes them. I like Isabel, the protagonist, a lot. I wish she were my friend. The newest book in the series, The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday, just came out. The books can stand alone, but I’d recommend reading them in order, starting with The Sunday Philosophy Club. McCall Smith incorporates just enough philosophical references to make me feel smart, but not too much to make me feel un-smart. Try them on for size, and let me know what you think.