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The Man Who Was Poe
Scholastic, 2013
more historical
more mystery
The Man Who Was Poe

The Old City lay dark and cold …

It is night. And Edmund is alone. His mother is gone. His aunt, who went in search of her, is dead. His sister has disappeared. Edmund has no one. Except for a stranger of the night.

A dark, mysterious stranger who flees from his own demons … who follows Edmund with grim determination through the cold and shadow city, promising to help, but often hindering. A stranger who needs Edmund for purpose of his own.

Behind the Book

Avi writes: This is one of those books of mine that emerge out of another book. Something Upstairs is set in Providence, Rhode Island, (where I was living at the time). Part of its plot has time travel in it. When I first wrote the book, my main character traveled to different moments in Providence’s past. One such time trip involved Edgar Allan Poe, the great American writer, who spent some time in Providence. In fact, the famous photo of him was taken there. (That photograph is important in this book.) But as I wrote Something Upstairs, the structure of the book changed, and I took out some of those time travel sections. But too late! I had been caught up with Poe, his character, his life, and his Providence connection. The result: The Man Who Was Poe.

Awards and Honors

One of the Best Books of Year, Library of Congress, 1990
Nominated, Best Juvenile Mystery of the Year, Mystery Writers of America, 1990
NCTE, Notable Children's Book, 1990
New York Public Library, One of the Best Books of the Year, 1989
Focus Review, Booklist, 1990


Children's Book Review Service:

“The writing is that of a true master … a suspenseful, thought-provoking novel that combines mystery with historical fiction.”

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