• Stephen Wheatley – A shy boy who finds himself drawn into Keith's games and is a frequent target of school bullies. The book hints at that Stephen suffers from OCD.
  • Keith Hayward – A snobbish, domineering child with a worryingly vicious streak, possibly inspired by the cruelty his father bestows upon him whenever he misbehaves. His inherent snobbery has alienated most other children and his parents seem largely ignorant of him, so in a sense he relies on Stephen for companionship, although he frequently condescends to and mistreats him.
  • Mrs. Hayward – A mysterious character, implied as being very attractive. She vanishes for various amounts of time throughout the day for no apparent reason, leading her son to believe that she may be an undercover operative. She has a distant relationship with her husband, and seems vaguely scared of him.
  • Mr. Hayward – A deeply introverted man, who spends most of his time in his shed working on various mechanical projects. He mostly ignores Keith, and only acknowledges Stephen's existence when it is apparent that he knows something he should not. He has a peculiar hold on his wife and is subtly conveyed as quite a nasty, mean-spirited individual.
  • Barbara Berrill – A school peer of Keith and Stephen, who shows an interest in Stephen in the latter and occasionally accompanies him on his adventures. She often appears bossy and annoys Stephen, although it appears that he may have a slight crush on her. Barbara serves as a plot device for revealing important information at certain times during the novel.
  • Auntie Dee – Mrs. Hayward's sister, whom she sees every day. Described as very bubbly and a frequent smiler. She has a child with 'Uncle Peter' named Milly.
  • Uncle Peter – Auntie Dee's husband, a handsome young man currently fighting abroad. He has garnered a reputation as a war hero.

This content is from Wikipedia. GradeSaver is providing this content as a courtesy until we can offer a professionally written study guide by one of our staff editors. We do not consider this content professional or citable. Please use your discretion when relying on it.