233F: Child Musician Automatons Mystery

Children’s book, read this, maybe, in the late 60’s. It’s a mystery that starts with, I think, children finding a clue in a large (almost life size?) automaton, or moving mechanical toy, of a child playing an instrument. There are three of these automatons, one who plays a small piano, created by a gifted artist. The stories are about the children’s hunt to find the entire set. Toward the end of the book they meet a woman who is related to the artist.

3 thoughts on “233F: Child Musician Automatons Mystery

  1. Susan

    definitely Mystery of the Silent Friends by Robin Gottlieb….each of the three automatons has a clue, taken together they lead to a treasure. One of the girls’ father (an antique dealer) owns two of the mechanical dolls, and she and her friend have to track down the third before the bad guy does.

    There is also a sequel called Secret of the Unicorn, involving clues in a tapestry

  2. Rhilael

    Thanks for your suggestions. I delayed responding until I could get my hands on a copy of “The Silent Friends”. I’ve actually read it before, but didn’t know there was a sequel, so thanks again for that. I look forward to reading “Secret of the Unicorn” as well.
    Unfortunately “The Silent Friends” wasn’t the book I had in mind. I’m quite sure about the automatons being of a larger size, “an adult figure the size of a six year old child” is a phrase I remember, and all three being musicians. I also remember them being discovered separately, not two together at the start of the book.
    One of the children starts the story by bringing a friend to a curiosities shop and politely asking the shopkeeper’s permission to look at the first automaton which he’d seen while at the shop with an adult relative (I don’t remember the relationship).
    At the end the children who were seeking the automatons meet an elderly woman who is the mother/grandmother/aunt of the artist – he’s referred to as a gifted artist in the story – who had died young, maybe in a war? She has the last automaton.
    I think the time period in the story may have been earlier as well. In fact now that I’m thinking about it I wonder if the book I read might have taken place in Europe rather than the US.


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