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When historian Emma Williams returns to Tulsa to care for her dying grandmother, she takes a job teaching high school social studies. She and her students find themselves caught up in a dangerous quest to uncover the long-buried secret of the greatest race riot in American history, the 1921 attack on Black Wall Street, in which many hundreds died and a large, prosperous town was utterly destroyed. Emma and her students publish their findings and inspire a state legislative commission to uncover the facts. In the process, she finds herself under personal attack and discovers a dark family secret. Eventually, reconciliation comes for the city, Emma, and her grandmother. Benedetti's first novel, The Long Italian Goodbye, received high praise from authors such as Adriana Trigiani, Ernest Gaines, and Ron McLarty, and critics such as Richard Christiansen of the Chicago Tribune.