Numerical simulations have been performed for flow past two equal-sized square cylinders in tandem arrangement subjected to incoming planar shear flow. Effect of L/d ratio and the shear parameter has been studied. The range of L/d ratio (ratio of center-to-center distance (L) to cylinder width (d)) is varied from 2 to 7 and the non-dimensional shear parameter (K) is varied from 0.0 to 0.4 in steps of 0.1. For all the cases the Reynolds number (Re) based on centerline velocity and cylinder width is fixed at 100. The results are compared with that of isolated square cylinder with uniform flow. Strouhal number decreases with increasing shear parameter. There are more than one shedding frequency at high shear parameters and L/d ratios. The mean drag coefficient is decreased with shear parameter and lesser than that of the single cylinder. The root mean square (RMS) value of both lift and drag coefficients is higher for the downstream cylinder for all values of shear parameter. With increasing L/d ratio, for both lift and drag, the RMS value increases and then decreases for upstream cylinder, whereas it continuously increases for the downstream cylinder. The stagnation point is moved towards the top leading edge with increasing shear. The critical L/d ratio, which is defined as the distance between two cylinders, beyond which the vortex shedding from the upstream cylinder occurs, decreases with increasing shear parameter. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.