Blog posts about the Rabbi Aviva Cohen Mysteries and their author Rabbi Ilene Schneider

Archive for October, 2016


I just posted an invitation on Facebook for writer friends to join in a game I made up. Or maybe I read about it somewhere and plagiarized it. If so, apologies, and let me know so I can give proper attribution.

Describe your book(s) in a haiku.

I’ll start with CHANUKAH GUILT:

Rabbi finds herself
Enmeshed in suicide case.
Or was it murder?

And I’ll continue with UNLEAVENED DEAD:

Why did couple die?
Who killed man with hidden past?
Rabbi uncovers all.

And my new (yet to be released) book YOM KILLER:

Mom found unconscious.
Accident or planned attack?
Family finds truth.



By the end of next week, RECIPES BY THE BOOK: OAK TREE AUTHORS COOK will be available as a trade paperback and as an e-book. It consists of recipes submitted by authors published by OTP; many of the recipes appear in their books.

I will post the purchase links as soon as they are “live.”

Compiled and edited by Ilene Schneider
Edited and formatted by Lorna Collins
Original cover art “Wine and Cheese” by Mary Montague Sikes

Cover design and layout by Larry K. Collins
Inline image




 … for mentioning me alongside Diane Mott Davidson, Nancy Cohen, and Janet Evanovich. I hope I’m one whose humor works! 
“What’s funny to me may not tickle your funny bone, so it’s always chancy inserting humor into a murder mystery, yet I do it as do other cozy writers such as Diane Mott Davidson, Nancy Cohen, Rabbi Ilene Schneider and Janet Evanovich. Some of the humor works, other does not.
Read her thoughts on “What’s the Problem with Cozy Mysteries” on Judy Mehl’s blog at


Now that the fate of YOM KILLER, the 3rd Rabbi Aviva Cohen Mystery, is in the hands of my publisher, it’s time to think about book #4. I’m undecided about the title: High Holy Daze? Purim Plotz? Simchat Terror? Shabbat Whine? Plenty of holidays, but I’m running short of puns.

Being a pantser (one who writes by the seat of her pants), I have no idea how I’m going to get from point A (below) to point Z (figured out in my head). If you’re interested in Point A,  read on.

I love mysteries. I always enjoy trying to solve an enigma, whether it’s a word puzzle, a jigsaw puzzle, a whodunit, or a real life dilemma.

I often try to figure out what motivates people to act the way they do. I read history and wonder how such cruelty could have existed. Then I read the news and wonder how such cruelty could still exist.  Some people go out and do terrible things, with no signs of remorse or conscience or even realization that what they’re doing is wrong. And then, when I despair about the human condition, others go out and put themselves in danger to help strangers.

I marvel at the human mind. What inspired someone to take an unappetizing creature like a lobster, throw it into a pot of boiling water, crack the shell, remove the “meat,” and dredge it through melted butter? What motivated someone to look at a prickly pineapple and think, “Gee, I bet there’s something juicy and sweet under the rind”? Who decided to chew the bark of a willow tree to cure a headache?

And the workings of the minds of geniuses – the Descartes and Galileos and Newtons and Lovelaces and Einsteins and Marconis and  Edisons and  Hoppers, and all the others  who thought up math and technology and science – are completely baffing to me.

They’re all grist for the mill. Or maybe I should say they’re all impulses to get the synapses in my brain to fire and keep me young. If it’s true that solving puzzles helps delay the aging process, I should live forever.

The past few years, I succeeded in solving a couple of real life mysteries. Why did a young woman commit suicide? What happened to the carbon monoxide detector that should have saved a couple’s life? Why did my mother have a contusion on the back of her head when she accidentally fell forward? What was I going to do about my first ex-husband? But my newest “case” proved to be the most baffling of all: how did human bones wind up under a pile of discarded Judaica books being stored in a trunk in the attic of a condemned synagogue building?

And what quirk of quantum randomness caused me to be the one to find them?