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

There are several problems with writing a series: internal consistencies with plots, descriptions of continuing characters, dates; not repeating names or favorite phrases; divulging enough explanation of past events to inform new readers without giving away the endings of previous books in the series; supplying enough of a back story for continuing characters for new readers to understand their stories without boring readers of previous books.

It’s now 2023. But for Easter (another “movable feast”) to occur a few days after Purim instead of Passover, as is the usual pattern (it’s explained in the book), the book occurs in 2008.

 The solution to the mystery in Killah Megillah relies heavily on forensic evidence. Many of the techniques used, including the fairly new discipline of historical genealogy, which was instrumental in discovering the identity of the “Boy in the Box” who was found in Philadelphia in 1957 and was the “Unknown Child” until 2022, had not yet been developed in 2008.

Here’s where literary license enters the picture. I generally try as much as possibly to describe now common technology, such as cell phones or social media, as it existed in the years when the books take place, not when they were written or published. But I decided to bend the chronological “rules” in this book and have the investigators use forensic science that may not have been available fifteen years ago. 

So, those of you a lot more knowledgeable than I am, when the book is finished and published, please suspend your sense of disbelief enough to enjoy the book, scientific anachronisms and all.

*Chanukah Guilt – takes place in early Dec, 2002; first edition copyright 2007

Unleavened Dead – takes place in early April, 2004; first edition copyright 2012

Yom Killer – takes place in early Oct., 2006; copyright 2016

Killah Megillah – takes place in early March, 2008; copyright 2023 (?)



  1. Oh! I can hardly wait for the 4th Rabbi Aviva Cohen mystery!

  2. Yes, this is the problem with writing a series. Love your explanations.

  3. Michael A. Black said:

    Suspending your disbelief is what it’s all about sometimes, Ilene. Good luck with your new one.

  4. Frankly, I wouldn’t have known the difference, but I do appreciate your situation. I promise to suspend disbelief. I’m told I’m good at that.

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