Philip James Longbotham is twelve. His nickname is OC and he possesses a most amazing brain.
It might not go round corners but it's a whiz at science and plays chess like a dream.
It also has a nasty habit of seizing up at the wrong moment; Kitty says it only does that because it's overloaded with maths equations.
Kitty and Anna are OC's sisters and they're the reason Mum wants to leave home.
OC's best friend is Charles Andrew Sheridan Harris. He lives next door and goes round in an excessively speedy wheelchair.
Nicknamed 'The Cash', his ambition is to become the world's greatest villain and make a bankful of money.
He's not doing such a bad job of it either! While OC plays chess and does maths and science homework for lazy kids, Cash has a nice sideline in forging sick notes and shop-lifting.
When a chess tournament lures the four friends to Birmingham, Cash takes OC to meet Jim Bowie, one of the all-time great villains, with the intention of asking if he can become an apprentice villain.
Told they don't hire kids in wheelchairs, Cash is devastated.
If villains don't want him, what is he to do with the rest of his life?
With Cash in decline and refusing to go to school, OC attends the carol service on his own in Gloucester.
He witnesses some suspicious men board his coach and recognises one of them as Jim Bowie.
Remembering that Cash has warned him to never talk to Jim Bowie again, OC stays out of sight.
The coach trundles him back to Bristol where the men are intending to rob a bank.
Unfortunately, the bank they have chosen is where OC keeps his chess winnings, over three hundred pounds, and he's not about to let them steal that!