Tuesday, March 2, 2021

The mystery of Cadogan West

 It struck me like a bolt of lightning tonight that we have a very curious crime in our Sherlockian Canon, and a flash of insight zoomed into my brain. So listen.

Technical papers are stolen from the Woolwich Arsenal from a secret government project that will give the British Empire elemental superiority. We are told that it was all about a submarine, something that history tells us failed and failed again for the British Navy of that time. Of course, why would Mycroft Holmes, or that government that he was imbedded in the heart of, allow a detective story writer reveal such secrets just over a decade later? Wouldn't Watson just substitute some other mildly futuristic-seeming secret for the real deal?

And what if the submarine was that substitute secret?

And what if the true secret was something much more incredible, and the crime that took place an even higher level of incredible?

Cadogan West, it seems at first, was thrown from a train. "It could only have come from a train," the old railway man at the scene says. West's head is crushed as if by a horrible impact born of speed.

Cadogan West was a man keeping a secret from his fiancee, Violet Westbury. And on the night in question, she says, very specifically, "Suddenly he darted away into the fog."

He darted away. 

Now, I'm sure by now there are a few among the readership who are picking up traces of where I'm going with this. Secret researches and experiment. A man whose last name is West who speedily dashes away from his fiancee upon seeing something she doesn't. And a family line with connections and enemies who are known for traveling through time to change history by eliminated key turning points.

Yes, I'm going to say that Violet Westbury might have been pregnant at the time her fiancee died. And in keeping that matter socially acceptable, moving somewhere else as a widow named "Violet West" would have made perfect sense. Her child grew up, had a child of their own, and so onward . . . until we get to a young man named Wallace West.

Here's the point where anyone who is not into DC comic book continuity is apt to be leaving this essay. Thanks for letting me tease you along this far, have a nice rest of your web surfing. Because I'm about to say that Cadogan West was the ancestor of Kid Flash (later the Flash proper, successor to Barry Allen), and that the government resource that Mycroft was having Watson call "submarine" was actually the speed force, and that Cadogan West was the first Victorian speedster, killed, not by a spy, but by a speedster from the future named Zoom who hoped to end Wally West's bloodline right after it first picked up a connection to the speed force.

It fits all the patterns one sees time and again in Flash comics: A speed force connection being passed on from generation to generation. Villains who like to alter the timeline. And while traditional lore might try to say that Wally West just happened to get hit by the same random chemicals and lightning bolt as his eventual uncle Barry, after finding himself drawn to the Flash for years before, it makes more sense that the speed force was always in that West line, just waiting to be triggered again after Cadogan West being a part of that long-before government experiment.

Cadogan West being killed in a super-speed battle by a more experienced speedster from the future is a crime that Sherlock Holmes could never hope to solve -- or admit the truth of, if he did solve it. Spies would serve the story, as would the submarine, when Watson wrote it up, and the British government's experiments in hyper-acceleration of the human body would remain a secret, and a secret process destroyed by that same villain from the future as well.

There are a lot of histories out there, and one never knows which ones will rub up against the Sherlockian Canon so nicely. If it turns out a "Flash-y" one does, I think I'm okay with that.

No comments:

Post a Comment