The Brock is back, in the fourth volume of Bryan Talbot’s brilliantly complex and visually dazzling series of graphic novels. New readers start here – Inspector LeBrock belongs to Scotland Yard, but he operates like a cross between Sherlock Holmes and James Bond, in an alternate version of history situated around the end of the nineteenth century (so yes – glorious steam-punk settings and devices). He fights crime at all levels, from great political conspiracies to the disappearance of his housekeeper’s niece. It’s just before Christmas, his usual partner is busy, so he teams up in Grandville (Paris) with Chance Lucas, an American detective who just happens to be – human! (I may have forgotten to mention that in this world it’s the animals who rule the roost.) Our badger hero deals with a murderous cult led by a charismatic unicorn, a gang-land turf war and some ominous bigotry while, as in all good series, the story-arc of his personal life moves satisfyingly forward. Fabulous artistic puns, stunning page lay-outs, action sequences on a sky-gondola, puffins in dinner jackets – the perfect diversion for a chilly evening.