As a kid, I was a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock. It started with his T.V. series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. As I recall, it was on during a school night. To stay up and watch my favourite programme with a glass of lemonade in one hand and a bourbon cream in the other was a big deal. The series covered nearly all genres such as crime, horror, drama, thrillers and my favourite mysteries. Then, one rainy day I discovered my brother’s stash of books underneath his bed. I eyeballed Hitch’s name on the covers of this series and I was hooked. To my amazement, he even made a guest star appearance in the books as a mentor to the three investigators.
The three detectives consisted of Jupiter Jones (what a fantastic name!), Pete Crenshaw and Bob Andrews. First detective Jupiter led the gang, second detective Pete excelled at sports and Bob loved records and research. Of course, I had a secret crush on Pete. The books were set in Rocky Beach in sunny California in the sixties. Jupiter or ‘Jupe’ lived with his Aunt Mathilda and Uncle Titus (another cool name!). They owned a junk yard where the three investigators set up their secret headquarters in an old mobile home, which had four hidden entrances. The mobile home even had a phone, which they paid for with money they earned working in the junk yard and from fees they collected for solving cases. Even cooler, the boys enjoyed access to a chauffeur driven gold-plated Rolls-Royce for thirty days. Jupiter won the use of the car as a prize in a contest sponsored by the Rent-‘n-Ride Auto Rental Company. Worthington, the chauffeur always took a huge interest in the boy’s cases. Looking back, I see now that the troop’s business card summed up the boys investigating business the best with their motto “We Investigate Anything” printed in the centre and underneath three black question marks stood out. The question marks symbolized the unknown and each question mark represented each investigator. The mysteries the boys investigated involved all manner of supernatural events from haunted houses to screaming clocks.
The books are pre-internet so the three investigators do a lot of digging around in libraries and books plus having a phone (attached to a line) was a big deal in those days. Oh, how simple life used to be! In this technological age, I don’t know how these books would go down with my kids but I am going to find out. What I loved most about these stories was that Mister Hitchcock took the boys seriously and as a kid that’s all I dreamed about!