As mentioned in the author notes of the novel, it was a joy to read Harry Alverson Franck’s account of his time as an enumerator in the Canal Zone. When Harry makes appearances in the story, I had him speak for himself, using material available as public domain from his book: Zone Policeman 88: A Close Range Study of the Panama Canal and its Workers. One of the notable aspects of his account is how much culture has shifted — many of the terms he uses would be offensive today.
The ebook is available free:
If you read Franck’s book, you’ll find his observations in the following chapters of Saffire.
- T.B. Miskimon’s checklist of supplies for enumerating comes from the list that Franck provides in Chapter Ten of Zone Policeman 88.
- Franck’s description of the shooting in Zone lodging comes from his own words in Chapter One of ZP 88
- Franck’s description of the woman dismayed at a dentist sign offering silver fillings comes from his own words in Chapter One of ZP 88
- Franck’s description of Goethals as the ‘three Omnis’ comes from his own words in Chapter Seven of ZP 88
- The census taking conversation with Harry Franck comes from his own words in Chapter Two of ZP 88
- The mystery of the knocked out men along the railroad was inspired by Chapter V of ZP 88, which notes the situation was solved by an unnamed sleuth.
Also, to learn more about Harry Franck, visit the website: www.harryafranck.com.