John Pugmire has been an avid reader of impossible crimes since a tender age. In addition to having founded Locked Room International (LRI) in 2010, he is an acknowledged expert in the sub-genre. In 2006 he completely rewrote the Wikipedia article Locked Room Mystery; in 2007 he was invited to join an international panel to name the top 100 locked room mysteries of all time. In 2010, he and Brian Skupin, co-publisher of Mystery Scene, were invited to review the contemporary locked room scene for Book and Magazine Collector Magazine. And in March 2012 he was contacted by the BBC to help create a 30-minute radio feature on the subject, in which he also made an appearance. His translation of Paul Halter’s The Crimson Fog was named one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Top Mysteries of 2013. Yukito Ayatsuji’s The Decagon House Murders followed in 2015 and Paul’s The Vampire Tree in 2016. The Derek Smith Omnibus was included in the Washington Post’s Top 50 Fiction Books of 2014 and The Moai Island Puzzle in its Summer Reads: 11 Hidden Gems 2016. Hard Cheese was named in Top Nordic Novels 2016. He has helped several foreign authors to get their work published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.
Learning about Paul Halter in 1991, and having learned French in school and spent many years working in France, he bought a bunch of Halter’s books and whiled away long-distance business flights translating them for his own amusement. His was frequently the only light on in the darkened cabin as he and his companion Jack Daniels toiled through the night. He spent several fruitless years trying to interest mainstream and specialist publishing houses, to no avail. The mainstream press didn’t, and still doesn’t, believe there was a market– despite average sales of 5000 in France and 12000 in Japan– and the specialist press were only interested in authors who were deceased, a condition which M.Halter was strangely reluctant to satisfy. In 2006 Wildside Press courageously decided to take a risk with the short story collection The Night of the Wolf because they liked the stories so much. Critical acclaim followed, but not enough sales, for Wildside was not known as a publisher of mysteries. The opportunity finally came when Amazon made it possible for small publishers to produce high-quality trade paperbacks, and its Kindle division did the same for e-books. LRI’s early publications were all by French authors but, starting mid-2014 we have added work from other countries, including English- and Japanese-speaking ones.