In this post, I mentioned an O. Henry story called “The Green Door”; a gentleman who enjoys reading aloud (as do I) has chosen it for the first of his offerings at Mystery Man Podcast: ” A brand-new podcast, recorded monthly, dedicated to reviving deliciously rare yet neglected masterpieces of mystery, adventure, suspense, and horror ~ from centuries past.” He adds: “Who am I? For now ~ that must remain a mystery.” Well, we all like a good mystery, so if you’ve got 21 minutes, 33 seconds to spare, give a listen.


  1. “The Green Door” was in the Inter Cert prescribed texts book in Ireland 1967-90. Thank you, Gus Martin.

  2. Løk is onion in Norwegian too. It’s also bulb. And garlic is , or white-onion.

  3. How peculiar. The hvitløk in that sentence just vanished.
    In the Norwegian Wiki it says ‘onion is called “the poor man’s truffle”‘, though it doesn’t say by whom.

  4. doug hemphill says

    I have found Agatha Christy podcasts on I-tunes that I really enjoy. If I have a bunch of yard work to do, on go the ear buds and I’m transported back into the 1940’s Europe. Fun!

  5. Løk is onion in Norwegian too. It’s also bulb.
    Would these be the “leeks” the Vikings used to diagnose fatal sword wounds? I think they tried to give some to St. Olaf once.

  6. I never thought to connect løk and leek before now. It’s the Welsh national vegetable. I hadn’t thought to connect Wales with Norwegian before, either.

  7. I’m transported back into the 1940’s Europe. Fun!
    Ja, those were the days.

  8. /me bids AJP to eat his leek.

  9. It’s no good John, I can’t figure out /me.

  10. marie-lucie says

    I’m transported back into the 1940’s Europe. Fun!
    I guess the poster was not in Europe in the 1940’s.
    the “leeks” the Vikings used to diagnose fatal sword wounds
    to “diagnose” them? do you mean to find out if they were actually fatal or not? and how did they do that?

  11. to find out if they were actually fatal or not?
    Yes. It was a soup of a strong smelling onion or garlic type plant. The women who tended the fallen on the battlefield would give them the soup and wait an hour or so before sniffing their bellies. If the leeks could be smelled coming out of an abdominal wound it meant the intestine was pierced–in those days automatic wound sepsis and death. I suppose the warrior would then compose a poem.

  12. a gentleman who enjoys reading aloud
    This is just a wild hunch, but did anyone else wonder if the *gentleman* could pass a Turing test?

  13. What do you mean? Did you not think his reading style was convincing? Sounded fine to me.

  14. A little too convincing. No coughs or throat-clearing for sure. The whispers and half-chuckles I imagine would be beyond artificial speech, but when does he breathe? Just when you expect it will pause to take a deep breath, or even a short one, the voice continues.
    Wouldn’t it be great if they could get a machine to do that?

  15. ‘Himmel!’ exclaimed Rudolph.
    It’s a good story, though. The real Rudolph Steiner (b. 1861) was the same age as O. Henry. I wonder why he chose that name for the protagonist in The Green Door,?

  16. Wouldn’t it be great if they could get a machine to do that?
    He probably just uses a ‘pause’ button.

  17. Language: a gentleman who enjoys reading aloud (as do I)
    Why don’t you record something for us to listen to? That would be fun.
    Oh, go on.

  18. A pause button? Maybe there is a smoother way to edit by now. Why don’t you try it, Kron? Investigate the software and maybe read “Three Billy Goats Gruff or something? BTW, there is an interview Hat did with NPR you should be able to google. It’s rather fun.

  19. Language likes reading aloud and I bet he has far more interesting material to read than I do. As for technology, can’t you just read the source code from the Mystery Man to figure it out?

  20. Greetings ~ your host of The Mystery Man Podcast, checking in here, live. The little controversy about the reading of O. Henry’s “The Green Door” has a curious back story, which I felt I just had to share: The initial recording of the
    story was judged to be a bit slow in pace ~ and it was suggested to me to edit out
    the various pauses, sighs, etc. that took the recording to over 23 minutes. Looks like
    perhaps, I overcorrected. In any case, I’d like to thank all you devoted readers of who have listened to the story and commented on it ~ and to those of you who have not yet tuned in to the show, I cordially invite you to do so. Copyright permissions permitting, I have recorded and expect to air a vintage thriller, a French detective tale out-of-print for nearly seventy years, as Episode #2 of the Mystery Man Podcast, sometime by week’s end. I would honored and delighted if you would take a moment to give it a listen. Signed, The Mystery Man. Who am I? For now ~ that must remain a mystery.

  21. Heavens, you have to get copyright permission? Anyway, thanks Mr Man — or can we call you Mystery?

  22. If you delve outside pre-1923 terrain, in the United States, copyright permissions are de rigueur. This particular story has a mess of a publishing history, being omitted from the original French edition and then mysteriously re-appearing in the English translation in 1929 ~ thus explaining, at least in part, its virtual disappearance for nearly seventy years from the literary panorama. The true challenge is finding someone who, at least, vaguely believes themselves to be the copyright holder. Ah, such is the life of the Mystery Man. Oh, and by the way, Mr. Man sounds just fine to me. 🙂

  23. Maybe that’s the key to podcasting–you have to either be a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma or find an off-shore hiding place protected by an army of goats and foot-long escargots. At any rate we can be pretty sure a synthetic speech program can’t use a keyboard.
    Maybe because I once sang in a choir, I was unconsciously waiting for the place to breathe and was uncomfortable for the speaker when it didn’t come. I don’t know that anyone else noticed it.

  24. 21:38 doesn’t sound all that different from 23:00. Now I’m curious to hear the uncut version.

  25. We want to hear Mr Man live at the Apollo.

  26. The 23:00 version was a tad huffy-and-puffy, and was, thus, mercifully deleted from my hard drive for all eternity. In any case, back to the studio to finish off the French detective thriller. It looks like this one might clock in at somewhere over 45 minutes so I promise to take a breath, at least, once. Thanks for all the comments. Much appreciated.

  27. John Cowan says

    I never thought to connect løk and leek before now.

    They are indeed cognates, from an original Germanic word *laukaz meaning ‘onion, garlic, leek, Allium sp.’ This competes all across Europe with Latin porrum and Greek praso(n), which are cognate and thought to derive from a non-IE word borrowed into PIE. The latter is used in a few Slavic languages, as well as Romanian and Georgian; the former in the other Romance languages (I wonder if Christie chose Poirot, an actual Belgian surname, for its homonymy with poireau?), the rest of Slavic, Danish, and Basque. In German, Porre and Lauch are both available. In Norwegian (both B and N) and in Russian we have the hybrid forms purreløk andluk-porei respectively. Finnish laukka is a pure Germanic borrowing. Lastly, in Serbo-Croatian, right on the border of Latin vs. Greek influences, we have both poriluk and praziluk.

  28. Alas: is no longer available.

    The authors have deleted this site.

    I wonder if The Mystery Man ever revealed his True Identity?

  29. David Marjanović says


    Porree, with ee as if English, almost: [ˈpɔɐ̯ʀɪ]. Has mystified me all my life.

  30. Lars (the original one) says

    Danish covers all bases: løg ‘onion’, porre ‘leek’, purløg (older porreløg) ‘chives’.

    (Swedish purjolök is the leek, chives are gräslök).

  31. David Marjanović says

    Bärlauch “ramson”, Schnittlauch “chives”, Knoblauch “garlic”. Note that Knob- is a cran morpheme and part of a Kluge mess; “button, knob” is Knopf.

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