Novel leanings of the chemist who turned to psychology

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Former Dunstable pharmacist and psychologist Gerald Fox – who’s just penned his first psychological thriller - says his next work may well be a Carry On style comedy.

The man who bought Herington Pharmacies in 1965 claims he has enough material from his early days as a chemist to sustain an entire script.

The grandfather-of-five said: “I’ve got literally dozens of anecdotes.

“One of my first prescriptions in Dunstable was for several gallons of cough mixture. I thought it was either a practical joke, an error or the result of drink – until I rang the prescriber, Whipsnade vet Martin Senior.

“‘It’s for an elephant,’ he told me.

“Then there was the junior I overheard advising a customer to rub warts with raw steak then bury it in the garden . . . you can imagine my response. But a month later the lady returned to say thank you, it had worked.”
Another zealous young trainee – keen to use her marketing skills – asked her first customer what size he needed when he popped in for some condoms.

Gerald, who now lives in Whipsnade with Hilary, his wife of 40 years, retired in 2005.

He read pharmacy in London but took up psychotherapy after being concerned that medication was not the answer to many patients’ psychological problems.

He also researched fingerprints as genetic factors and wrote a well-received paper about how they could be used to indicate personality.

In addition he was asked to write a report on rapist and armed robber Malcolm Fairley – alias The Fox.

Gerald recalled: “I spent a whole day assessing him inside Gartree maximum security prison in Leicester and made a full report to his court trial.”
So is The Fox one of the characters in Gerald’s debut offering A Bird Stuck on the Sky? His lips are sealed. All he will admit is the story is based on real-life psychotherapy cases.

The publicity blurb states: “It examines how seemingly complex conditions can be resolved through discussion and interpretation and how we all struggle to resolve our personal battles the best way we know how . . . a compelling narrative that fulfils its promise of adventure with startling surprises and some pulse-racing episodes.”

Golfer and tennis player Gerald – a one-time director of Dunstable Football Club and a former member of Dunstable’s Rotary club – enjoys reading autobiographies and is a fan of Dickens, Hemingway and P G Wodehouse: “But my all-time favourite is Joseph Heller’s Catch 22.”

He finds writing “utterly absorbing” and is already planning another, very different, book.