The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom by A. E. Hotchner
Penguin Random House: 7/10/18
eBook review copy; 240 pages
The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom by A. E. Hotchner is a
charming depression era story set in St. Louis featuring a young
protagonist. It is very highly recommended
Twelve-year-old Aarom Broom (almost thirteen) is guarding his father's
car from the repleviners, two guys from the finance company who would
repossess the car for non-payment if they see it. His father, Fred, has
an appointment at a jewelry store to show them his samples of Bulova
watches - and hopefully sell them some. When his father is buzzed into
the jewlery store, pulling his large sample case behind him, Aaron sees a
fat man follow quickly follow his father into the store. Then he hears
shots, a window shatters, and the fat man runs out of the store, tucking
a gun into his waistband. The police show up and Aaron's father is soon
being handcuffed and detained by the police.
Eavesdropping on the officers, Aaron learns that his father is
considered a material witness and possible accomplice. He will
be held without bail. Since his mother is currently at a tuberculosis
sanitarium, Aaron is on his own. He quickly surmises that he needs to do
"detectifying" and find out the identity of the real robber. First he
will find a way to get his father's car moved and hid in a safe place,
then he is going to start looking into the jewelry store employees.
Aaron wrangles together a group of friends to help him, including the
building manager, a newspaper boy, an ex-neighbor girl, and a kind
lawyer, all while hiding from the juvenile welfare officer, trying to
find his next meal, and a safe place to sleep.
The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom is an old-fashioned tale
about a self-reliant, determined young man whose clever sleuthing helps
him find the answers he needs to free his father. There is a real sense
of community and helpfulness that we don't generally see today portrayed
in the novel. Are the answers a bit too convenient for Aaron to find?
Sure, but Aaron is an appealing, optimistic, and undaunted narrator.
Hotchner provides plenty of period details viewed in the matter-of-fact
way a twelve-year-old would view them. This is a delightful,
fast-paced, old-fashioned detective story that was a sheer delight to
(Apparently some of this story was also covered in Hotchner's autobiographical novel, King of the
Hill, 1972, which I now have on my wish list.)
My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House.