Crime and Costume

The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco

By Ben Felsenburg

If, like me, you’re a sucker for detective thrillers but you also can’t get enough of costume dramas, then you’re in for a treat with the arrival of The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco (Wednesday, ITV, 9pm). The new series is, in fact, a spin-off from ITV's late and lamented The Bletchley Circle, in which a few years after the end of the Second World War the female brainboxes who had cracked the Nazis’ code redeployed their intellects in the cause of solving crime. Now the year is 1956, and two of the original characters find their lives have been reduced to drab mundanity. Jean (Julie Graham) is bored rigid working as a librarian. Meanwhile, Millie (Rachel Stirling) is a governess cursed with the charge of a brattish little Lord Fauntleroy – until leafing through an American newspaper she finds a report of a murder in San Francisco with uncanny similarities to the killing of a British woman in the Bletchley Park secret decoding centre in 1942. So, without much further ado, off hare Millie and Jean across the Atlantic to try and crack the case, with some help from Iris (Crystal Balint) – one  of their wartime yank counterparts who just so happens to be a genius as well as a jazz devotee. Barring some moments of gruesome violence that may require the old fingers in front of the eyes, this is stylish, absorbing and entertaining escapism and, my, but those 1950s fashions are still deliciously chic.


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