A family of dolls brightens a young tomboy's convalescence and helps find a missing family fortune. After nine-year-old Melissa's fall from a tree leaves her with a permanent limp, she's cheered and diverted by her mother's gift of a doll family, but is still too full of self-pity to return to school. Then Valerie--a bossy, spoiled, southern-belle cousin--arrives and (with her snooty doll, Gloria) monopolizes the dollhouse. Valerie also brings a mystery; after the Civil War, her grandfather buried a fortune in gold, money that her family's failing plantation sorely needs. It's the dolls who come to the rescue, finding a secret hiding place in an inlaid box; meanwhile, the gifts learn somthing about the unselfishness of true friends. Although the period setting here is sketchily drawn, the plotting is skillful, the conclusion satisfying, and the characters--including the dolls--come alive and are conveyed with warmth. Anyone who's ever had or longed to have a doghouse will enjoy Stover's keen eye for miniature detail. Pleasant b&w illustrations help shore up the post-Civil War setting.