The Clarion Call (Henry)

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The Clarion Call
Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «The Voice of the City»
Microsummary: A detective encountered an old friend who was a murderer and couldn't arrest him due to a debt; however, the criminal's arrogance led to his capture after taunting a newspaper.

Detective Barney Woods unexpectedly ran into his old friend, Johnny Kernan, on the streets of New York. The two men caught up over drinks, and Woods revealed that he was now a city detective.

Barney Woods — narrator; detective; near-sighted, loyal, conflicted.

He also confronted Kernan about the recent murder of millionaire Norcross, which he believed Kernan had committed.

Johnny Kernan — murderer and burglar; arrogant, self-confident, vain.

Kernan admitted to the crime, but reminded Woods that he owed him a thousand dollars from years ago, and therefore Woods could not arrest him.

I’ve got to let you go, and then I’ve got to resign from the force. I guess I can drive an express wagon. Your thousand dollars is further off than ever, Johnny.

Kernan, feeling invincible, decided to call the managing editor of the Morning Mars newspaper and taunt him about the unsolved murder. He revealed details of the crime and mocked the newspaper's inability to catch him.

I’ll show you what I think of newspapers in general, and your Morning Mars in particular.

Woods and Kernan continued their night out, attending a show and having a late supper.

In the early hours of the morning, Woods bought a copy of the Morning Mars and discovered that the newspaper had offered a thousand-dollar reward for Kernan's arrest and conviction. Woods wrote a note to the newspaper, instructing them to pay the reward to Kernan, thus settling his debt with his old friend.

Please pay to the order of John Kernan the one thousand dollars reward coming to me for his arrest and conviction. Barnard Woods.

With the debt repaid, Woods informed Kernan that he would now be taking him to the police station to face justice for the murder of Norcross.