Early this year I received two calls for short stories that were due in the next couple of months. The first needed to include an eclipse. The second had to be set in New England in a snow storm. Before I had a plot, I had my historical characters lined up. Charles Sanders Peirce would do nicely for the eclipse story, since Emily is in Washington and so was he (maybe) working for the Coastal Survey. The setup was easy, Charles Peirce invites Charles and Emily Lawrence to observe a partial eclipse in what is now Bethesda, Maryland. All I had to do was write a story to go with it. Easy.
The snowstorm was even easier. Opening scene, Emily is on a train from Washington to Boston in a snowstorm. She has been summoned to help an old friend out of a sticky situation. I have no idea how I made the connection, but I knew it had to have something to do with one of the museums in Cambridge. In walks Fredrick Putnam, curator of the Peabody, a man I knew absolutely nothing about. He turns out to be quite nice. Emily has to track down a lead, and her pet policeman sends her to, who else, James Mills Peirce, the brother of the scientist in the first story.
It is pretty clear from the first story that I don't much like Charles Peirce and from the second that I do like his brother James.
I chose relatively obscure famous people because I am never sure how my interpretation of any well-known people will sit with those who love them. I read a fine historical mystery novel that included the men who worked with Longfellow to translate Dante's Inferno (The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl). One of those men was Oliver Wendell Holmes. The author's interpretation of Holmes was almost an exact opposite to my own. Both of our views fit perfectly with the historical record. Our difference were simply the views two people would have with a living person, I like this one and you think he is an idiot.
So if this is being read by any lovers of Charles Sanders Peirce, read "Women's Work" in Day of the Dark and then write to me. If you have never heard of him, write to me anyway.