Weekend With: Diana Bretherick

Diana Bretherick
Diana Bretherick
Lloyd and Karen Clewer, the founders of Farm4Life, at Haslar Hospital, Gosport, where they store goods ready to send to Africa  (Picture by Habibur Rahman)

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Former barrister Diana Bretherick, 50, from Southsea, lectures in criminal justice studies at Portsmouth University and published her debut novel, crime thriller City of Devils, on August 1.

When did you last go away and where did you go? 

I have just got back from an Arvon writing course in the Scottish Highlands with Val McDermid and Andrew Taylor. It was a great experience to be tutored by two such excellent writers in the genre. My fellow students were lovely too. I don’t think I’ve laughed and learned so much for ages.

What was the last gig/concert/comedy show you went to? 

I don’t go to these kinds of events very often as I’m not keen on crowds. The last gig I went to was Maddy Prior at the New Theatre Royal. I prefer to go to smaller more intimate local events such as author talks. In the last year or so I have been to see Val McDermid, Kate Mosse, Madeline Miller and Anthony Horowitz.

What about the last theatre show you saw?  

I haven’t been to the theatre for far too long. So long in fact that I can’t remember it!

The last book you read? 

I’ve just finished Val McDermid’s latest, The Vanishing Point, which I very much enjoyed. I am currently reading A Scent of Death by Andrew Taylor. Although both feature murder (my favourite kind of fiction) they are very different and demonstrate the sheer variety of crime fiction available these days.

The last film you saw at the cinema or on DVD?   

The latest Star Trek film at the cinema. Benedict Cumberbatch is one of my favourite actors. And before that, it was Skyfall. My niece Isabelle was on the production team so we clapped when her name came up on the credits.

What’s your favourite way to relax?   

Sitting in a comfy chair reading a novel, usually featuring some grisly crime or other.

What do you watch on TV? 

I enjoy watching crime drama. Broadchurch, The Fall and now Top of the Lake are all really well done. Scott and Bailey is a favourite too. And I love European drama – Borgen, Spiral,The Killing, The Bridge and the Returned.

And which TV programmes do you avoid? 

Reality shows. They’re so dull and exploitative.

Which celeb would you most like to spend a weekend with? 

I’d probably go for a crime writer to see if I could pick up some tips. Someone like Ian Rankin perhaps. I’m a big Doctor Who fan, so Mark Gatiss would be great too.

Where do you eat out? 

My favourite restaurant is Montparnasse in Palmerston Road. The food is really excellent and the service friendly and efficient. What more could you wish for? Other favourites are Sopranos and Steki.

Where’s good for a day out locally? 

I haven’t been to the new Mary Rose Museum yet, but I hear it’s really something.