A man named Avery Knight, a notorious New York burglar, highwayman, and murderer, was walking in Central Park with a doctor. Knight boasted that within forty-eight hours after committing a murder, he could track down and bring the doctor face to face with the detective assigned to apprehend him. The doctor expressed his doubts, but Knight was determined to prove his point.
But when you boast that within forty-eight hours after committing a murder you can run down and actually bring me face to face with the detective assigned to apprehend you, I must beg leave to express my doubts—remember, you are in New York.
To demonstrate his abilities, Knight shot a man in the park and robbed him of his possessions. A policeman approached them, but dismissed Knight's confession as a prank. The doctor remained skeptical, but Knight insisted that he could find the detective assigned to the case, Shamrock Jolnes.
The next day, Knight informed the doctor that he had attended the inquest and learned that Jolnes was on the case. However, he had not yet managed to locate the detective. The doctor advised Knight to give up, but Knight was determined to prove his abilities.
I will admit that my success depends in a degree upon the sort of man they start after me. If it should be an ordinary plain-clothes man I might fail to gain a sight of him. If they honor me by giving the case to some one of their celebrated sleuths I do not fear to match my cunning and powers of induction against his.
Knight eventually devised a plan to find Jolnes. He reasoned that since homicides in New York often went unsolved, detectives must be going about their work in the wrong way, or even the opposite of the right way. Knight described himself as tall, with a black beard, and cold-hearted. He assumed that Jolnes would be looking for a short man with a white beard who was wealthy and philanthropic.
With this assumption, Knight took the doctor to a wealthy residence where they saw Jolnes, disguised with red whiskers, keeping watch. Knight had successfully brought the doctor face to face with the detective assigned to apprehend him, proving his point and demonstrating his unique abilities.