Titus and Mathilda Jones

Mathilda Jones in "Fiery Eye." Although Titus Jones took part in a lot of the stories, he was never drawn in any of the illustrations.

The uncle and aunt of Jupiter, Titus and Mathilda Jones are the owners of the grand Jones Salvage Yard. Titus Jones is "a small man with an enormous mustache" and his wife Mathilda is a lovable if strong-minded woman who loves to "put boys to work."

Although not wealthy, Titus and Mathilda provide a lot of opportunity for the creative trio of Jupe, Pete, and Bob to acquire equipment and supplies to outfit them as the Three Investigators. Headquarters for the Investigators just wouldn't be the same if it wasn't in the Jones Salvage Yard, and Jupe's outdoor workshop gives the boys ample workspace to stay close to Jupe's home without being bothered by adults or other kids.

Titus Jones was a performer in the circus, playing a calliope, but he has abandoned that life for one of collecting junk. He drives a hard bargain for things to sell in the salvage yard but also manages to find lots of unique stuff that people always want to buy. He's good-hearted and generous not only to the boys but to others in the community; the painting on the salvage yard wall that makes Red Gate Rover possible wouldn't exist if Titus hadn't given lots of things to the local artists, who then repaid the favor with the painting. Titus is also aware of Jupe's intellectual capabilities and doesn't mind teaching him a lesson every so often to keep him humble, such as in "Talking Skull" when Titus hides Gulliver's trunk where Jupe can't find it.

Like Titus, Mathilda Jones wants to make sure that Jupiter is raised right and consequently does not give Jupe and his friends a lot of spare time to just sit around. Despite this apparent strictness, Mathilda has a soft spot for boys and as Robert Arthur puts it, her "heart is as big as she is," which really shows in "Stuttering Parrot," when she gives away a lot of building materials (plus some extra cash) to Carlos so that he can fix up his house. And of course, Mathilda has a unique exclamation that she uses on occasion: "Mercy and goodness and sweetness and light!"

Although the Three Investigators books are aimed at teenage boys and girls who like mystery stories, it's interesting to see that one romance is portrayed in the series, that of Titus and Mathilda. It's Titus who brings home an iron deer to set up outside the Salvage Yard gate and then remarks to Mathilda, "Now I'll have two dears."

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