|“||Where Lady Boynton is, the music of the spheres is curiosly like the nails down a blackboard.||„|
|~ Dr. Gerard|
Dr. Théodore Gérard is a major protagonist of Agatha Christie's 1938 Hercule Poirot novel, Appointment With Death. He is a French psychologist. Along with fellow doctor Sarah King, he encountered the Boynton family and assisted Poirot on the murder of Mrs. Boynton.
In the novel
Dr. Gerard, Jefferson Cope and Sarah King were close friends to the Boynton children, who were upset by the abusive behavior of their mother, Mrs. Boynton, and the condition of the children.
After the death of Mrs. Boynton, Dr. Gerard assisted Poirot in investigating the case. It was revealed that the killer had stolen and replaced a hypodermic syringe from Dr. Gerard's tent. After the eventual concusion of the case, with Mrs. Boynton's children being released from her domineering iron fist, Dr. Gerard ended up marrying Ginerva, Mrs. Boynton's eldest daughter and only biological child.
In Agatha Christie's Poirot
In Agatha Christie's Poirot, which adapted the novel in 2008, Dr. Gerard's role had changed magnificently. In this version, he is depicted much more elderly and is the murder accomplice to Dame Celia Westholme, though the latter is also changed magnificently within the motive and became much more sympathetic. Both of them served as anti-heroes in this version, whilst Lady Boynton is the main antagonist instead.
Here, Dame Celia Westholme served as a maid in the home of Lady Boynton (who was then Mrs Pierce) before becoming a writer. She had an affair with Dr. Gerard, delivered a child, and was sent away to a nunnery in Ireland while Lady Boynton kept the baby. That child turned out to be Jinny (based on Ginerva Boynton in the original novel). When Dame Celia and Dr. Gerard found out that Lady Boynton had abused all of the children that were in her care (including Jinny) even for a short while (like Mr. Jefferson Cope), they decided to kill her out of revenge.
The murder was also more elaborated than that in the novel. First, Dame Celia injected Lady Boynton with a drug that would slowly paralyse her, doing so under the pretense of swatting away a hornet. Then, Dr. Gerard dropped a dead one and pretends to kill it to verify the fact that Lady Boynton had, indeed, been stung. While Lady Boynton sat atop her platform enjoying the sun, she slowly became immobile.
Dr. Gerard injected himself with a drug that would simulate the symptoms of malaria beforehand, and returned to the dig with Jinny to rest. Instead, he drugs Jinny and disguised himself as an Arab to plant a wax ball filled with the blood of a goat that he had killed under the clothes of Lady Boynton. That way, as the sun melted the wax, the blood would make it seem as if she were already dead. When Lord Boynton discovered his wife, Dame Celia went to "check" the body – in reality, she quickly stabbed the woman dead in front of everyone before Dr. King could examine her.
In this way, neither Dr. Gerard nor Dame Celia could have been implicated in the crime as neither apparently would have been seen to have had the opportunity to commit it. Later, when Lady Boynton's nanny, Taylor, had a mental breakdown, Dr. Gerard gives her mind-altering drugs and drives her to suicide after forcing her to relive her past, making her feel guilty for delivering the beatings and punishments that Lady Boynton had ordered for her children.
After Poirot explained the truth, Gerard and Dame Celia admitted their crimes. Dr. Gerard injected Dame Celia and then himself with a fatal dose of digitoxin, both committing suicide after saying goodbye to their daughter.
- Dr. Gerard's role was omitted in the 1988 film adaptation of the novel.