The Clarion Call by O. Henry

The Clarion Call by O. Henry

One part of this story can be found in the chronicles of New York city. Another part you can read in the local newspapers. Millionaire Mr. Norcross was killed in his own apartment. Two weeks later, Detective Barney Woods meets a killer named Kernan while strolling along Broadway. He offers to find a pleasant place and and to talk quietly. The men find a quiet table in the corner. It is late afternoon and there are practically no visitors. Kernan smiles. He is well dressed and confident. Barney Woods is pale. He is in a cheap business suit. “Why did you kill Norcross?” The detective asked. Kernan is surprised, as he is sure that he did not leave a trace. The detective grabs the gun. “Get your gun out and I’ll tell you everything,” Kernan promises. The killer reveals the unexpected truth.

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The Clarion Call by O. Henry

You can find half of this story in the records of the New York City Police Department and the other half in the records of a newspaper office.

Mr Norcross, the New York millionaire, was murdered by a burglar in his apartment. Two weeks later the murderer met Detective Barney Woods on Broadway.

“Is that you, Johnny Kernan?” asked Woods.

“Yes, it is,” said Kernan happily. “And you’re Barney Woods of Saint Jo. What are you doing in the East?”

“I now live in New York City. I’m a detective for the New York Police Department.”

“Well, well, well,” said Kernan, smiling happily.

The Clarion Call by O. Henry

“Come into Muller’s cafe,” said Woods, “and let’s find a quiet table. I want to talk to you, Kernan.”

It was almost four o’clock in the afternoon and there weren’t many people in the cafe.

They found a quiet table and Kernan sat down in front of the detective. Kernan was well-dressed and self-confident. Woods was short, pale and wore a cheap suit.

“What are you doing now?” asked Woods. “You left Saint Jo a year before me.”

“I’m in the gold mining business,” said Kernan. “Perhaps I’ll open an office here. Well, well, so old Barney is a New York detective. You were in the police in Saint Jo after I left, weren’t you?”

“Yes, I was there for six months,” said Woods. “And now there’s one more question, Johnny. In your other burglaries you never used a gun. Why did you kill Norcross?”

Kernan looked at his drink for a few moments. Then he looked at the detective with a big smile.

“How did you discover this, Barney?” he asked with admiration. “I thought I did a perfect job, didn’t I?”

Woods put a very small gold pencil on the table. It was a little watch charm.

“This is the little charm I gave you when we were in Saint Jo. I found it under the table in Norcross’ room. Be careful of what you say, Johnny. We were friends once, but now I’m a detective and I must do my duty. In the state of New York murderers get the electric chair.”

Kernan laughed…

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