Gambling With Murder By Lida Sideris: Review/Giveaway/Interview

Apr 16, 2022 | 2022 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow

This week we have a review of Gambling With Murder by Lida Sideris along with an interesting interview with Lida. Details at the end of the post on how to enter to win a copy of book and a link to order it from Amazon.

Gambling With Murder: A Southern California Mystery by Lida Sideris
Review by Cynthia Chow

Attorney Corrie Locke continues to work in the legal department for Ameripictures Film Studios, but her real love is as a budding, almost-licensed private investigator. She and her coworker/former security guard Veera Bankhead are building a reputation for solving murders and just recently tracked down the thefts of movie props, but the lack of an official status has them both frustrated. So when Corrie receives a letter from one of her father’s former clients requesting help, she and Veera are ready to jump on the case. Posh Villa Sunset independent living community’s resident Dominic Rosetti has only been missing for four days, but his friend Holly Lee is concerned enough to reach out to the now-defunct Lock Private Investigations. Feeling loyal to her late father’s client base and wanting to prove their worth as investigators with their first paying client, Corrie and Veera take on the case and even enlist Corrie’s mother to go undercover. Her Mom may be about twenty years younger than the Santa Barbara retirement community’s demographic, but a wig and new – but still posh – wardrobe will have her luring in Silver Foxes for discreet interrogations and even a few dinner dates.

While Mom infiltrates the Retired and Tough R.A.T. pack of seniors with a penchant for gambling card games, Corrie calls on her college computer science department head boyfriend Michael to do mostly legal IT background checks on the assortment of Villa residents and staff. He is also instrumental in having Mom take on the identity of Lucy Fay Nightingale, an incoming resident whose delayed check-in gives them a week’s deadline to track down the missing Dominic and the schemes that may have led to his disappearance.

This fifth of one of my favorite new series continues to be delightfully hilarious as Corrie fully embraces her private detective investigator legacy. The brief glimpse into her work at Ameripictures gives those looking for entertainment world shenanigans just a taste of the nefariousness she usually encounters, as the novel shifts towards the equally compelling entanglements within an elite retirement community. There is an abundance of red herrings, deceptive characters, and shady machinations, with Corrie determined to keep her Mom safe when the investigation turns deadly. Corrie’s Mom displays an unexpected talent for undercover work, wielding a croquet mallet with ruthless accuracy and showing rather unnerving skills as an observant card shark. Veera continues to be the more enthusiastic partner of their budding investigation branch, brainstorming names for their business while they anticipate earning a legitimate license. The future for their expanding team looks bright as they continue to earn the respect they deserve by expanding out of the movie-making world and into the elite Southern California societies.

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Interview with Lida Sideris:

KRL: How long have you been writing?

Lida: I’ve been writing ever since I could pick up a crayon. Sometimes my stories were only a few words and or composed solely of illustrations. Ah, the good old days!

KRL: When did your first novel come out, what was it called, and would you tell us a little about it?

Lida: It was fall, 2015 when Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters, the first in my Southern California Mysteries, was set loose in the world. My series stars Corrie Locke, a 26-year-old entertainment lawyer whose day job takes a back seat to her investigating homicides and missing persons, and in one case, a missing homicide (Murder Gone Missing #2). Corrie’s the daughter of a well-known Los Angeles P.I., but in the series, she investigates on her own…and without supervision.

Lida Sideris

KRL: Have you always written mysteries/suspense and if not, what else have you written?

Lida: My picture book, The Cookie Eating Fire Dog, is the only non-mystery, so far.

KRL: What brought you to choose the setting and characters in your latest book/series?

Lida: I’m mostly writing what I know. Born and raised in Southern California, I so enjoy going back and revisiting my old haunts where nothing too exciting or dangerous happened. When Corrie visits the same places, everything happens. My heroine is loosely based on my own life working as a movie studio attorney…except without the homicides.

KRL: Do you write to entertain or is there something more you want the readers to experience from your work?

Lida: My goal is to entertain and provide an escape hatch for my readers. I know how much I appreciate a book that does that for me.

KRL: Do you have a schedule for your writing or just work whenever you can?

Lida: I work a day job running a legal non-profit, so I write in spurts, whenever I can.

KRL: What is your ideal time to write?

Lida: In the morning, but that doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. Sometimes I don’t get started until much later in the day. But I think it’s important to write daily, even if it’s for ten minutes. That’s still progress!

KRL: Do you outline? If not, do you have some other interesting way that you keep track of what’s going on, or what needs to happen in your book when you are writing it?

Lida: I have a basic idea in my head before I start. The first draft is written by the seat of my pants. No outlines, no note cards, no compass. Once I’m done, I revisit the draft and write a short summary of each chapter. It helps me organize and keep track of events and people.

KRL: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning?

Lida: Yes, I rode the rejection rollercoaster up and down many times until I finally was published. But after each rejection, I kept polishing and re-polishing the manuscript, until I could polish no more.

KRL: Do you have a great rejection/critique or acceptance story you’d like to share?

Lida: I circulated an early draft of my first book. I was too green to know that drafts needed much re-working. A New York agent told me that the only thing he liked about it was the title. That stung! I swore off writing…for about two weeks. I edited that early draft probably a hundred times until I felt it was ready to send out again.

KRL: Most interesting book signing story-in a bookstore or other venue?

Lida: I was interviewed by a reporter for the local paper in a coffee shop next door to a bookstore. I was in the middle of answering a question when I noticed a woman holding a copy of my book and watching us. The interviewer followed my stare and asked if the lady wanted to talk to the author. That author was me! It felt incredible. I signed the book, and we took photos. I felt like an honest-to-goodness author!

KRL: What are your future writing goals?

Lida: There are two more books in my series. Oh, how I would love to get those completed early. One can dream!

KRL: Who are your writing heroes?

Lida: So many. Everyone from Charles Dickens to Janet Evanovich. Any author who’s sucked me into a book, allowing me to completely escape and shut out the world. I love a good adventure!

KRL: What kind of research do you do?

Lida: I tend to overdo research. For instance, in my latest, Gambling with Murder, I needed to learn about playing poker and blackjack, poison and lockpicking, customized golf carts and antique daggers, to mention a few of the research topics. Almost all my research is via the internet; however, if possible, I love visiting a setting in person, after I’ve written about it, to see what I’ve missed. For instance, I visited a swanky hotel that I used as inspiration for Villa Sunset, the ritzy retirement community where most of the action happens in Gambling with Murder.

KRL: What do you like to read?

Lida: Light-hearted books with happy endings. Humor is a big plus. I also like non-fiction and picture books and fantasies. I guess I’ll read any genre that I find engaging.

KRL: What are your favorite TV shows or movies?

Lida: I don’t watch much TV, but I do enjoy Hallmark mysteries and some romances. I also enjoy classic movies from the 30s – 50s. The Golden Age of Hollywood films are the best.

KRL: Have you any advice for aspiring or beginning writers?

Lida: Never, ever give up. You don’t know which book or story will get you published.

KRL: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

Lida: We had a mini dairy goat farm where I’d get up bright and early to milk the goats, pasteurize the milk and even made cheese! We went from living in Los Angeles to living in the countryside. It’s been a blast!

KRL: Pets?

Lida: We just lost two of our canine family members – one was thirteen and the other was almost sixteen – so we only have Chico right now. All three were rescued and have been absolute angels. We also have eight hens.

KRL: Is there anything you would like to add?

Lida: Thank you and KRL for hosting me, Lorie! Great questions!

KRL: Thanks for joining us! Website? Twitter? Facebook?

Twitter: @lidasideris
Instagram: @lida_sideris
Book Bub

Another book in this series, Murder Gone Missing, was featured in a past Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast! You can listen by clicking here or on the player below:

To enter to win either an ebook or print copy of Gambling With Murder (winner’s choice), simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “gambling,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 23, 2022. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. BE SURE TO STATE IF YOU WANT EBOOK FOR PRINT.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode goes up next week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link:

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Great interview! Count me in!

    • New author to me. Would really like to read. I prefer a print copy.

  2. Thank you so much, Cynthia! I’m so thrilled that you enjoyed my latest! I appreciate you taking the time to read and provide such a wonderful review. Thank you, thank you! And thank you very much, Lorie, for the terrific questions. I enjoyed writing the replied. Thank you, ladies!

  3. Love the relationship between mother and
    daughter. Ask for help and mom is ready
    to go. Sounds like a great book.
    thanks. txmlhl(at)yahoo(dot)com

  4. Sounds like a great series! I would love the chance to read in print! Thank you for all the wonderful reviews and interviews this week!

    Claire.denning.11 at gmail dot com

  5. Gambling with Murder by Lida Sideris sounds like a mystery that is a winner for sure!

  6. We have a winner!

  7. Thanks everyone for participating! And thanks so much again to Lorie and Cynthia!


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