Darwin L. Teilhet used the classical, fair-play form of the detective story in ways that had rarely been successful with earlier authors. Like some later writers, he based his first books on current events and issues, and thereby produced The Talking Sparrow Murders (1934), the greatest detective novel (and one of the most powerful novels in any genre) about the Nazi takeover of Germany. Unlike most mystery writers of the 1930’s, who were political and social conservatives, Teilhet throughout his life was a liberal, a fact that adds a special flavor to his books, especially those about Baron von Kaz. In these novels, he includes acute criticisms of overzealous patriotism in the United States as well as attacks on anti-Semitism. The baron, moreover, is probably the most convincing of all humorous detectives. His constant pride lands him in difficulties, but the reader sympathizes with him. The reader understands why he acts as he does, and his foibles are amusing because, though exaggerated, they are human.