Keppel's gothic clout has strengthened somewhat since I Could Be Good to You (1980); and this mid-18th-century clutter of Dreadful features a cheerful brace of heroines, an appropriately gaunt castle, a wild sea banging atmospherically, and mysterious twinkling lights on the marshes. The heroines are sisters Nanette (curious) and Leonie (merry)--who, orphaned in 1744, arrive at Cudden Hall, home of their icy, oppressive Aunt Elizabeth, supposedly a longtime writer of gothic novels (Keppel could use some elementary instruction in literary history). Also on the premises: Elizabeth's ""salon"" of five, including a whiny Scotswoman and a rotten young poet, Jack Lescott; kind housemaid Nancy, daughter of a local smuggler; and a bearded Yeti, factotum John-Gonomanaway (""John-Gon""). In no time, naturally, the girls are snooping about, weary of the salon and sour Auntie, lured by tales of a petrified forest and deadly local floods. And then poet Lescott is found dead (after telling Nanette about a secret locked room), as is Lescott's father--Who comes investigating. Happily, however, the girls' cousin Virgil also arrives, stirring Nanette to passion. . . while sea-storms start churning, strangers appear in the forest, and surprises begin to spill. In sum: amusing characters in a cheery seaspray of familiar gothic distillation.