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


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?


Comments on: "FIRST 381 WORDS" (2)

  1. franstewart said:

    These the sorts of questions I often ask myself — except for the one about the bones. Haven’t found any bones in the attic lately – hope I don’t (unless it happens to be in the attic in the book I’m currently writing, which just happens to be about a bunch of women cleaning out an attic. No telling what else they’re going to find in there). Thanks for another great post.

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