A delight of the expanding 21st century market for graphic novels is just how many good crime dramas have been published. Add Write It In Blood to the list.

Over the opening few pages Cosmo Pryce is considering retirement as he goes about one last job, unaware that his brother Arthur has indulged his trousers with the boss’ wife, so any parting of the ways is unlikely to be amicable considering their boss is a gangster. Despite Cosmo’s naivety about the outside world, they’re a very capable pair, introduced abducting a rival gangster for delivery to their boss. It all seems to be going very well until a third party mentions Arthur’s indiscretions.

Rory McConville characterises the brothers as resolutely ordinary beyond their employment qualifications of being very willing to resort to violence and murder, and that’s the way Joe Palmer draws them. Pass them in the street and you’d not give them a second thought. At times Palmer’s cast resemble a more jagged Paul Grist, although they’re a little stiffer, and he’s very good at suggesting the backgrounds are fuller than they actually are, which is a useful trick to pull off. The result is an appealing simplicity.

As things go from bad to worse for Arthur and Cosmo, McConville follows a template, but he’s come up with a tight plot and is sure with the staged escalation, each step up preceded by an astounding revelation, often delivered with a great sense of comedy timing. They’re killers, so not quite loveable idiots, but McConville succeeds in making Cosmo at least a relatively sympathetic personality. Write It In Blood is a quick read, but a thoroughly enjoyable one only slightly let down by a final few pages lacking the inspiration of the remainder.