Ellie's precocious 13-year-old niece, Ariel Hopkins, shows up at the Haskells' house, Merlin Court, one stormy night. Ariel, who's read too many gothic novels, has made her way from far-away Yorkshire, where her father, Tom, and stepmother, Betty, after winning the lottery, bought an Elizabethan mansion dubbed by Ariel "Withering Heights." Ariel claims that her wicked stepmom is obsessed with finding the body of Nigel Gallagher, the mansion's previous owner, whom Betty believes was murdered by his wife, Lady Fiona. Meanwhile, Ellie's oddball housekeeper, Mrs. Malloy, has wanted to mend fences with her estranged sister, Melody Tabby, who happens to live in the same town as the Hopkinses. So Ellie, husband Ben and Mrs. Malloy set off for Yorkshire to return Ariel to her parents and do a bit of investigating.