Río Frío (Cold River) is a town on the superhighway between Mexico City and the city of Puebla. Sneeze and you'd miss it. But back in the time of my novel-- the mid-19th century-- it was an important stop on the stagecoach highway that came through the sierra en route to Puebla and the main port at Veracruz. There was an inn and a fort, which, from the look of it today, must have taken a couple century's worth of bullets and mortars. In March 1866, Baron Frederic Victor d'Huart, a close friend and aide to the Empress Carlota's brother, the Duke of Flanders, was murdered here by bandits.
This is a photo of trees along the road, as I imagine the stagecoach highway might have looked then.
Here's the fort:
More about Baron Frederic Victor d'Huart and Río Frío anon.
P.S. Here's a post about Alan Flukey's translation of Manuel Payno's classic novel The Bandits from Río Frío.