Brian Skupin

I am sad to report that John Pugmire, Publisher of Locked Room International (LRI), passed away on March 7, 2024, in New York City.

Originally from the United Kingdom, John relocated to Manhattan in the 1980s after a successful executive career at IBM. His interest in locked-room and other impossible crimes was stimulated in 1991 when he learned about Paul Halter, a rising young French writer. Being bilingual in French and English, John read and enjoyed Halter's books so much that he tried to interest publishers in translated versions. Eventually Wildside Press agreed to publish Night of the Wolf (2006), a collection of Halter's short stories, translated into English by Pugmire and noted impossible crime expert Robert Adey.

In 2010, John founded Locked Room International, dedicated to publishing translations of mystery novels featuring impossibilities. At first LRI focused on French mysteries, especially those by Halter, and were all translated by John himself. Later, LRI expanded to publishing mysteries from other languages, including Japanese, Swedish, and Chinese. In addition, LRI published an omnibus edition of Derek Smith's English locked-room mysteries, an English language anthology of locked-room mysteries, The Realm of the Impossible, edited by Pugmire and myself, and a revised edition of Adey's seminal Locked Room Murders bibliography. John's online publication "A Locked Room Library" has been a valuable guide to new readers of impossible mystery fiction, and he was an early proponent of Shin Honkaku, a literary movement in Japan that focusing on the writing of new mystery novels in the classic or Golden Age style.

John was a generous soul, a fine drinking companion, and a good friend.