Mr. Eckert is perhaps uniquely qualified to be Farmer's collaborator on this novel since the background of the novel concerns Farmer's Wold Newton Family, a subject near and dear to Eckert's heart. Eckert has been webmaster and publisher of the premiere Wold Newton family website An Expansion of Philip Jose Farmer's Wold Newton Universe for over a decade. Eckert was also the editor of Myths for the Modern Age, a collection of essays that expanded upon Farmer's Wold Newton Family concept.
Although some reviews may call The Evil in Pemberley House a posthumous work, it is not. Although published after Phil Farmer's passing, the novel was finished, approved by Farmer and bought by a publisher prior to his death.
Sex has always been a double edged sword for Farmer. Portraying it brought him both acclaim and condemnation, and I think possibly precluded him from being looked at in the same regard as Asimov, Heinlein or Clarke. For my money, I think his ideas were just as broad and his execution was in many regards more skillful than the Big Three.
While less explicit than Farmer's other pieces of erotic fiction The Evil in Pemberley is a book for mature audience and does have a strong sexual content. Yet these scenes are never simply prurient and each one is intrinsic to the plot as a whole.
However clever the author of a review wants to be in discussing his favorite novelist, the reader undoubtedly is impatiently thinking. Get to the gist! Is it any good? Does it measure up to Farmer's other works?
The answer to both questions is a resounding yes. Like many of Farmer's works it can be read on many levels, a sexually charged gothic thriller, a psychological mystery, a sherlockian/pulp pastiche and yes, as a novel that fits into his Wold Newton Family mythos. Farmer's skill was always to adeptly take many disparate elements, enact some literary alchemy and decant gold from the mixture. The Evil in Pemberley House is no exception to this rule. It is a very good book and a compelling read. I think that it easily stands alongside such works as The Adventure of the Peerless Peer, Greatheart Silver, The Other Log of Phileas Fogg as well as his erotic classic A Feast Unknown.
Kudos for this must be given to collaborator Eckert. Win Eckert is most assuredly a scholar of Farmer's work, yet even if such a scholar of an author's works so thoroughly steeps himself in his collaborator's words that it seems as though he hijacked and channeled his muse only a writer of exceptional talent can make the collaboration seamless. I have read a few works that were unfinished works, finished by other authors, of some note, and invariably there comes a point in your reading where you know where the original text left off and the new writer took up the pen. In the case of The Evil in Pemberley House unless it is pointed out to me, I cannot tell were Farmer left off and Eckert began. While it is a collaboration, it is truly a Farmer book.