Florence Zimmermann

Zimmermann plays the role of a motherly advisor in House, introduced to readers after Lewis gets off the bus in a strange town and led by a man he has never met before to a new home he has never seen:

Lewis walked down the long hall. It seemed to take forever. At the other end he emerged into a room full of yellow lights. There were pictures in heavy gilt frames on the walls; there was a mantelpiece covered with a wild assortment of junk; there was a big round table in the middle of the room; and over in the corner was a gray-haired woman in a baggy purple dress. She was standing with her ear to the wall, listening. [The House with a Clock in Its Walls; 10]

 

Strickland says that he was privy to some notes and observations that Bellairs had prepared for The Ghost in the Mirror, including “Mrs. Zimmermann was American by birth, that she did meet and marry her husband, Honus, before going to Europe, and she was quite the toast of artistic London, attracting many (Platonic) admirers. She was back in the USA shortly after completing her doctorate degree, and sometime after that her husband passed away and she became a schoolteacher. She had only recently retired when the events of House begin. I don't, alas, know her maiden name."

Adaptations

The role of Mrs. Zimmermann was excised from the 1979 made-for-television adaptation, Once Upon a Midnight Scary.

Etymology

For what it's worth, Zimmer is German for "room," as in a section of a buildng; its origins trace back to Middle High German zimber (timber).