338O: Girl searches for spinet-playing doll (Solved!)

I’m looking for a book that was written probably in the 1960’s, possibly early 1970’s.  I think the title contained the words “secret friends”. It is about a girl and her best friend who stumble across a mystery involving 2, or maybe 3, mechanical dolls. Her father owns an antique store. He has one of the dolls, a girl sitting at a desk who dips a pen in an inkwell and writes. The other is a girl playing the spinet. I remember the clue to the mystery was found inside the doll.

4 thoughts on “338O: Girl searches for spinet-playing doll (Solved!)

  1. Maybe this one? ‘The mystery of the silent friends’ / Robin Gottlieb, Al Brune (illustrator). Published by Funk & Wagnalls (1964).
    When two customers appear in her father’s antique shop, each trying to buy Henri and Henriette, a pair of Swiss mechanical dolls, Nina Martin scents a mystery. Then the hint of hidden treasure and a secret message send Nina and her friend Muffin off on a treasure hunt in New York City.

    • Oh my gosh, that’s it! I’ve been searching for “secret friends” when I should have been searching for “silent friends”. Thanks so much!

  2. Guess what else? There’s a sequel! It’s Secret of the Unicorn, 1965. Not the Tintin book, of course. Gottlieb apparently died in Jan. 2019, at age 90. Her husband was Gerald Gottlieb, the Pierpont Morgan Library curator of Early Children’s Books at the Library, in 2009. He retold The Adventures of Ulysses and worked on other books.
    More on Robin Gottieb: “Education: Attended Vassar College, 1946-48; Barnard College, B.A., 1950; Columbia University, M.L.S., 1972. CAREER: Random House, Inc., New York City, assistant to juvenile editor, 1951-57; Children’s Book Council, New York City, librarian and bibliographer, 1972-79, member of special projects staff, 1979–. Book reviewer in juvenile field for New York Herald Tribune; consultant to various New York publishers.”

  3. Lenona, Thanks so much for writing about the sequel! I loved “Secret Friends” when I was a girl, back in the 1970s. Now I need to find a copy of “Secret of the Unicorn”.

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