Aztec artifacts seem to bring lovely American Venetia Collins bad luck in Mexico City in 1896. First she finds a professor ritually murdered with an Aztec sword. Then she goes to the opening of an ancient tomb and, one by one, all the others present disappear, victims of the ""Curse of the Plumed Serpent."" Meanwhile, she is bedeviled by three suitors: her creepy boss Sir Philip Stratford, an uptight aristocrat whose appearance changes oddly from time to time; ""Slave King"" Vincent Morales, whose lust leads him to repeatedly kidnap and nearly rape her; and wholesome Irish-American investigative reporter Sean Malone. Add a touch of Satanism, hints of eternal life and alchemy, slow poison and cruelty to dogs, and poor Venetia has everything but turista. She--and wary readers--should grab the next train for the border posthaste.