There's a really great article by David Grann about murder and politics in Guatemala in The New Yorker, A Murder Foretold. It's quite lengthy, 29 pages downloaded but worth the time. Here's What Slate's Brow Beat has to say about it:
There are many mysteries to unravel in the story, but the main one focuses on Rosenberg, a high-profile lawyer in Guatemala who becomes obsessed with tracking down the people who murdered a client and that client's daughter. (Why is he so obsessed? That's mystery #1.) As Rosenberg starts digging into the crime, he starts getting threats himself-and then, a month after his client is killed, Rosenberg is shot in the head while out on a solitary bike ride.
In and of itself, the assassination might not have been so newsworthy: Guatemala is a scary, corrupt place, as Grann explains. (Personally, I had no idea of the extent of the country's lawlessness.) But something truly strange happened at Rosenberg's funeral. A friend of his named Luis Mendizábal-who just happens to be a legendary spy-stood up and announced that Rosenberg had left behind a video, with instructions to release it in the case of his murder. That video, which subsequently spread across Guatemala like wildfire, opened with this bombshell:
"Good afternoon .... My name is Rodrigo Rosenberg Marzano and, alas, if you are hearing or seeing this message it means that I've been murdered by President Álvaro Colom, with the help of [the president's private secretary] Gustavo Alejos."
Did the President really order Rosenberg's murder? Who is the shady "inside man" who fed the assassins secret information? Was the spy a double-crosser? In the way it twists and turns until the end, "A Murder Foretold"-while decidedly more violent-reminded me a lot of Grann's blockbuster article from last summer, about the investigator who finds fingerprints on works of art (a piece he discussed on Slate's Culture Gabfest). What elevates the story out of the realm of pulp are Grann's narrative grace notes-like the heartbreaking moment when one character, watching security footage of a loved one's murder, reaches out to briefly touch the television screen. It's a bloody tale, beautifully told.