Higgins, the federal prosecutor turned lawyer who wrote the dynamite The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1972), has written a dense, wisecracking, plausible documentary of the fall of Richard Nixon, the capo di tutti capo who created so many fall guys between himself and the protectors of the Republic that he escaped ultimate justice. Watergate buffs will have a lot of questions, of course, about Higgins' tidy script. He does not wonder, for example, about E. Howard Hunt's copping a plea after his wife was killed, or the similar change of attitude by the four ""Cubans"" also caught in the roundup. The book intimates that these were some sort of Nixon henchmen, although Gonzales was on CIA retainer and Sturgis bore similar markings. Haig and Butterfield, now known to have been CIA men attached to the White House, are left out; the book blasts stool-pigeon McCord for implying that Watergate was a CIA caper, but fails to explain McCord's ""all the trees in the forest will fall"" letter to Caulfield, the go-between to John Dean. Higgins does report that McCord's ""insurance,"" his four diaries of past CIA activities, were burglarized. The book is grand entertainment even for the super-saturated, but, as trees continue to fall, Higgins' complacent assumption that Watergate is a dosed case seems ill-timed. Part of the book appeared in The Atlantic and annoyed Ervin Committee counsel Sam Dash with its ""suggestion that he did a lousy job."" Higgins' own job is so professional and so sharp that the gaps become all the more striking.