Notes on Joen Desmedt

It means John Smith.  That’s never mentioned in the novella.

He took the name Joen Desmedt after he was imprisoned in a Russian gulag and tortured with facial burning that disfigured him and made him unrecognizable as the man he was before.  But the name change followed a series of revelations he had about the nature of life and what his own life had meant to him.  He wanted to throw off the shadow of his famous father Ingvar Stryker, musician and conductor.

Experience made him wise, but no less cunning and (when necessary) ruthless.  He is one of the “commandos” who undertake to assassinate Alex Vail — The Giant — Violet’s ex-husband and Poirot’s nemesis.

He is a cello virtuoso, and often plays the one that belonged to Geordie Farrier in accompaniment with Violet on her father’s piano.  They have a bond deeper than music; they feel the presence of the man who sent his men off a bridge and blew it up to stop the enemy; there is sacrifice burned into the memory of his touch.

Joen is pure gentleman, behaving like an Englishman while speaking better than Poirot, but sliding into Flemish when he needs to.

He does not cover his face. He knows it’s alarming.  But he feels for the people who are upset by it.  He says privately that if they could see the damage on the inside of him they’d recover from their shock.

Published in: on July 20, 2012 at 6:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

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