Mystery and suspense writer Patricia Highsmith offers tales of Gothic horror in the tradition of H.P. Lovecraft in a thoroughly modern (and at times, almost futuristic) setting. Most of these stories struck this reviewer as more unpleasant than truly horrifying, and more often than not, the bad guys only got what was coming to them, so no regrets. And as mysteries, these stories were not overly clever, and seemed to go on far too long for the amount of plot. If this was done with the hope of building suspense, it largely failed. Meanwhile, the topics of nuclear waste, plagues of insects, and the struggle for women's rights each figure prominently in more than one story, making this collection seem needlessly repetitive - a little more variety in subject matter probably would have helped. This reviewer's favorite tale was "Sweet Freedom! And a Picnic on the White House Lawn" which at least had a pleasant subplot. Also, "Sixtus VII: Pope of the Red Slipper" was pretty good and at least well-intentioned. The others fall short of being genuinely frightening without being funny, or clever, or presenting any positive message. The author certainly delivers on what the title promises, but this reviewer wonders "to what point?"