Lg. Prt. 0-375-70294-6 As if it weren’t already notorious enough for the break-in in Room 723 (now a one-room museum, as Truman announces in one of her atypically few insider notes), Washington’s Watergate Hotel has become a kill zone from top (a researcher pushed from the roof gardens) to bottom (a Mexican union organizer gunned down in the basement garage). The link between the two killings is The Mexico Initiative, a nationalist lobby with close ties to the revolutionaries bent on overthrowing the PRI, Mexico’s long-ensconced ruling party. Since it’s important for US Vice President Joseph Aprile to make sure he’s on the right side of the issue, he sends his old friend, crime-solving law prof Mackensie Smith (Murder in the House, 1997, etc.), south of the border to monitor the upcoming elections, and incidentally to serve as his unofficial envoy, perhaps even to meet with revolutionary leader Carlos Unzaga. It’s a ticklish assignment, one that takes both Mac and his creator well out of their comfort zones. Beltway veteran Truman spices the tale with irrelevant reminiscences of power-broker Elfie Dorrance’s four late husbands and juicier hints of scandals close to home, but the Mexican intrigue is marked by political analysis no deeper than you’d get from the next tourist.