POD: c 85,000,000 BCE;
Relevant POD: 1452
|Appearance(s):||"The Scarlet Band"|
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
Dr. James Walton was the colleague and biographer of British detective Athelstan Helms. Walton accompanied Helms to the United States of Atlantis to investigate a series of murders linked to the House of Universal Devotion sect.
Walton was a veteran of the British war in Afghanistan. He was quite ethnocentric, finding much in Atlantis that offended his English sensibilities. He was for example, rather disgusted that their chief liaison in the Hanover police, Inspector La Strada was of Italian descent. Walton viewed the House of Universal Devotion in great contempt, and was convinced of the guilt of its founder, Samuel Jones, aka "The Preacher".
Walton traveled by train with Helms to Thetford, one of the House's strongholds in the country. Just after they met with Sergeant Casimir Karpinski, Helms discovered Preacher Jones disguised as a janitor on the platform. After Helms questioned Jones, the two Englishmen retired to a hotel. Over dinner, the two were joined by Benjamin Joshua Morris, a lawyer who claimed to have substantial evidence of Preacher Jones' misdeeds. Morris left the hotel and was immediately shot dead.
The truth of the murders came to light shortly after, as Helms immediately suspected Karpinski, who was present at the murder scene too quickly. Helms confronted the police officer, and extracted a confession to being part of a larger conspiracy to frame the House.
However, the revelation did not endear Helms and Walton to the Atlantean population, which now realized that the House was immunized from criticism. Walton and Helms fled. Their voyage back to England was made more pleasant by Polly and Kate, two of Jones' female followers, sent as an expression of the Preacher's gratitude.
Literary Comment Edit
James Walton is based upon Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Dr. John Watson, the famous partner and biographer of Sherlock Holmes. As "The Scarlet Band" was published when the Holmes characters were not yet in the public domain, Harry Turtledove obfuscated the identities of his two protagonists.
Walton's overt xenophobia, while common to the average Englishman, makes him an antithesis of Watson in this matter. Arthur Conan Doyle was unusually progressive in race matters, and generally had Holmes and Watson mirror his own views. Holmes called black men Mr., and Watson wrote a favourable account of an interracial married couple in "The Adventure of the Yellow Face".