John Mischief and his seven brothers share a single body: that of Mischief, who has antlers on his head. From these antlers sprout seven smaller heads, each of them a particular brother with his own unique personality. Their names are John Fillet, John Sallow, John Moot, John Drowze, John Pluckitt, John Serpent, and John Slop. Together, the eight of them are master thieves, and as such are wanted for grand larceny on several Hours. They are the first Abaratians Candy Quackenbush meets on entering the islands of the Abarat.

Later they volunteer for a digging job on the Nonce, searching for a man called Finnegan Hob, in a bid to escape the island of Yebba Dim Day.