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Monday, February 5, 2024

Something About Amalia Pimlico

She has her eye on you.

I've always been confused about who was more clever: the wife of Evaristus Sloane or John Bellairs.  

When Johnny Dixon began having eye issues, he visited the new eye doctor in Duston Heights, Dr. Amalia Pimlico.  Everything seemed fine until Johnny fell ill and realized she wasn't who she said she was.  Further, Professor Childermass realizes who she is when he sees a map of the London Underground and -- 
"Good God!  His WIFE!" roared the professor.  As the startled shop owner watched, the professor flung down the book he was holding and made a dash for the door.
Yeah -- anyway. Later, the professor said her real name was Amalia Sloane.

So, did Evaristus and Amalia develop Pimlico as an alias, or was her maiden name Pimlico?  The professor remembered Evaristus possibly living in England after leaving New Hampshire, so it's possible Evaristus rode through an underground station sharing his name.  When the time came for his wife to work her charms, did they use her maiden name or refer to another subway stop they crossed?

I like to think for her to do business – let alone be a healthcare provider – Amalia Pimlico had to have degrees and certifications showing the state of Massachusetts licensed Amalia Pimlico to tinker with your eyes.  Surely Amalia Sloane wouldn't come up with a random name to hide her identity from three or four people in town – would she?  While having a husband and wife duo as villains is fine, something about her surname never sat well with me.

Her first name is interesting, too, but for different reasons.  Amalia is a female given name, derived from the Germanic word amal, meaning "work, activity", and attributed to the 7th Century Belgian Saint Amalberga of Maubeuge.  I don't see any particular connection between Amalia Sloane and working or keeping busy (and there doesn't need to be one, either).
She was a heavyset elderly woman in a white hospital uniform, and she looked very cheerful and pleasant.  Her gray hair was pulled into a bun, and she wore steel-rimmed spectacles.
The white uniform calls to mind an antagonist like     Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, notably its 1975 film adaptation.

The TVTropes site says the bun as a hairstyle has long indicated a very specific character type, showing the woman as neat, prim, proper, and organized. 

And then Amalia went and let her hair down. We’ll head out to Pimlico next time.

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