The delight of Christmas shoppers at the unveiling of a London department store's famous window display turns to horror when one of the mannequins is discovered to be a dead body...
Mander's Department Store in London's West End is so famous for its elaborate window displays that on Monday mornings crowds gather to watch the window blinds being raised on a new weekly display. On this particular Monday, just a few weeks before Christmas, the onlookers quickly realise that one of the figures is in fact a human corpse, placed among the wax mannequins. Then a second body is discovered, and this striking tableau begins a baffling and complex case for Inspector Devenish of Scotland Yard.
Vernon Loder's first book The Mystery at Stowe had endeared him in 1928 as `one of the most promising recruits to the ranks of detective story writers'. Inspired by the glamour of the legendary Selfridges store on London's Oxford Street, The Shop Window Murders followed, an entertaining and richly plotted example of the Golden Age deductive puzzle novel, one of his best mysteries for bafflement and ingenuity.
This Detective Club classic is introduced by Nigel Moss, who looks at how Loder's books are still acclaimed today by reviewers for being `as different from the standard whodunits of his colleagues as champagne is to soda water.'
Vernon Loder was a pseudonym for the prolific Belfast-born author John Haslette Vahey (1881-1938). With a solid reputation for witty characterisation and `the effortless telling of a good story' (Observer), Loder's popularity with Crime Club readers and reviewers was later summed up in the Sunday Mercury: `We have no better writer of thrill mystery in England.'