To write a summary, we pick out and explain the most important details of a work. To summarize a work of fiction, we want to focus on describing the most important details of the plot, which include the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. Since chapters 1-5 occur at the beginning of Avi's The Man Who Was Poe, these chapters will only be a part of the exposition and the rising action. Authors use the exposition of a story to lay out for the reader the setting, characters, and conflicts.
In the prologue of the story, we were introduced to the protagonist, Edmund, and told the central conflict is that his sister, called Sis, has gone missing. In the first chapter, we are introduced to another important character, a writer who is currently broke and behaves a bit strangely. The writer is later identified as Edgar Allan Poe; however, he introduces himself to Edmund as Auguste Dupin, who is actually a detective character Poe created for a series of his short stories. In this opening chapter, Mr. Dupin and Edmund meet for the first time, and Edmund tells him about his Aunt Pru and Sis having gone missing and asks for help, having no one else to turn to.
In the second chapter, Avi begins to develop more rising action. The term rising action refers to all events in a story that lead to the story's climax, the turning point of the story. One important moment of rising action is that Mr. Dupin and Edmund together learn that the body of Edmund's Aunt Pru has been discovered by authorities at the docks.
Rising action continues to develop in chapters 4 and 5. In these chapters, Edmund explains why he and his family came to America and that, each day, his aunt searched the town for Edmund's missing mother. Edmund and Mr. Dupin also go investigate the room in the neighboring building to discover a wooden plank by the window and a "pearl button" Edmund says came from his sister's shoes (46). These clues convince Dupin that Sis was kidnapped, forcibly taken from one room into the next through the windows, using the plank as a bridge.