This is a fun mystery taking us back to 1995, when Anna Pigeon took her first job with the National Park Service. It's a prequel, so you need not have read any of the other books in the series before reading this one. If you're a long-time Anna Pigeon fan, you'll enjoy seeing her as a rookie. She's new to the outdoor life and not yet in law enforcement. Recently widowed and drowning in despair, Anna takes an entry-level job at Lake Powell. As yet she has no wilderness savvy. On her day off she hikes out into the desert with no hat and not enough water or food. When she doesn't return, her co-workers think she has decamped and headed back to New York City. Seasonal employees don't always stick around, so no one thinks much about it. Especially because her belongings have also disappeared from her room. As it turns out, Anna has been attacked and dropped into a deep hollow or "jar" in the sandstone. She wakes with almost no memory of what happened, and no way to get out of the jar. As she faces an ordeal of hunger and thirst, expecting to die, she uncovers some alarming clues and begins to discover how resourceful she can be in a crisis. Who has it in for Anna, and why? Who removed her things from Park Service housing? Was it a fellow employee? Did she see something she wasn't supposed to witness? When she reappears at the Park Service compound and reports her experiences, the investigation makes almost everyone suspect, including Anna herself. Jenny, her tough, no-nonsense housemate, turns out to be her greatest ally. Jenny also develops a mad crush on Anna, but keeps it to herself for obvious reasons. The girl crush was the one thing in the book that was a little overdone. The workplace diversity theme is important, and the unrequited adoration is amusing, but it received a lot more page time than necessary. (I should add that this could just be my own bias, as I prefer anything resembling romance to be more in the background when I read a mystery.)The Rope has all the entertaining elements we've come to expect from the series. Anna Pigeon gets herself into one scrape after another and seems to encounter more than her share of diabolical characters. As a former NPS employee, Nevada Barr has insider knowledge about the life. This installment also includes an important ecological message about the serious problem of human waste disposal at Lake Powell. Be sure to follow those proper pooping protocols!