Author: Gordon Bickerstaff
A woman is murdered in a Glasgow city hotel room. Police have everything they need to charge a suspect. Caught at the scene, he confessed, and he’s filled with guilt and remorse. With undeniable evidence; the police expect him to plead guilty.
Who is pulling the strings? What secrets are they hiding?
This novel is available now.
Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following link!
And now Gordon Bickerstaff with:
Unusual characters can add a quirky dimension to a book and one character with a life-saving role that I incorporated into my first book, Deadly Secrets, was the humble pineapple. It proved interesting and a number of readers contacted me to ask if the background information on the properties of the pineapple was true or fiction.
More than 500 years ago, Christopher Columbus ‘discovered’ the pineapple, which he received in exchange for trinkets from natives on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. Columbus tasted the fruit and instantly appreciated its commercial potential as a delicious fruit. He was also intensely intrigued by the medicinal uses claimed by the natives.
Columbus discovered they drank pineapple juice as an aid to digestion and a cure for bellyache, particularly when feasting on meat and women used it as a cleansing agent to improve the texture of their skin. Injuries, he discovered, were treated with pineapple flesh to promote healing.
Columbus was more interested in the claim by warriors that pineapple flesh promoted rapid healing when applied to wounds sustained in battle. It is now understood that the pineapple flesh can remove damaged skin tissue and kill bacteria to stop infection and provide a clean, smooth, wound. To Columbus, it was a miracle made for the military but it was a short-lived one. The pineapple had to be fresh and once cut, it soon rots. It wouldn’t travel.
In more recent times, biochemists have established an explanation for these varied uses; the pineapple plant is a rich source of bromelain, an enzyme that can degrade protein. It aids digestion by chopping food protein down to its building blocks, peptides and amino acids.
The natives of Guadeloupe used pineapple juice as an active ingredient for skin care lotions as the bromelain degrades dead or damaged outer layers of skin to expose the softer inner layers. They also used concentrated lotions to remove body hair because bromelain degrades keratin (hair protein).
In more modern times, doctors treating skin burns must first remove dead, charred and damaged skin to provide a clear foundation for a graft and frequently use a combination of surgical techniques and enzymes such as bromelain, which as the additional advantage of reducing accumulation of fluid and lowering inflammation.
Other studies have show that bromelain may be valuable in destroying protein blood clots, which cause heart attack and stroke as well as important anti-inflammatory properties for management of trauma.
With such great potential, why has it not been realized? Only large pharmaceutical companies have the money to undertake the detailed research that would reveal the benefits that can be found in pineapple, and there is no money to be made in showing that pineapple might have health benefits. For the time being, pineapple bromelain must remain an unusual character.
Thank you to Gordon Bickerstaff for being featured on my blog today!