Esmé Gigi Geneveve Squalor is a character from the book series by Lemony Snicket, A Series of Unfortunate Events. She is the city's sixth-most-important financial adviser, and portrayed as an unpleasant woman. She first appears in the sixth novel of the series, The Ersatz Elevator. Her snobbish nature is clearly demonstrated by her obsession with what's fashionable — or, as she says, "in". This can be as innocuous as parsley soda or as inconvenient as elevators being "out", forcing visitors to walk up 66 floors to her penthouse apartment. When she adopts the Baudelaires (supposedly because orphans were "in" at the time) she lives with her husband Jerome Squalor in an impossibly enormous apartment penthouse on the 66th floor of 667 Dark Avenue.
"Squalor" means "dirtiness" or "unpleasantness" and is often used to describe the home of someone poor, which could be seen to represent not her wealthiness, but her poor and bad spirit.
Esmé is named for the short story collection For Esmé - with Love and Squalor (Also known as "Nine Stories"), most especially as the original edition was printed with the words 'with Love and' in-between 'Esme' and 'Squalor'. Her husband, Jerome Squalor, is named for J. D. Salinger, the author of said short story collection; they share both the name Jerome and the significant initials "J.S.".
In The Hostile Hospital, Esmé was sent to destroy the Snicket File, which is one of the last remaining pieces of evidence that could have sent Count Olaf to jail. She used her sharp knife-like stilettos to harm the orphans. She was unable to claim the file, mainly because the authorities had removed it beforehand, but also because Klaus Baudelaire had Page Thirteen in his pocket. She was able to capture Violet Baudelaire, but failed to retain her. Lemony Snicket also mentions that Esmé and Mrs. Baudelaire met at a Thursday tea party.
In The Carnivorous Carnival, Esmé had a rivalry with Madame Lulu, shown by angry glances and the idea of tossing Lulu to the lions. In The Slippery Slope, the Baudelaires and Quigley Quagmire considered taking Esmé hostage in a plan to rescue Sunny Baudelaire, but canceled the plan because it was "too villainous".
In The Penultimate Peril, Olaf and Esmé break up after fighting during the dramatic "harpoon gun" incident. She wears a "lettuce bikini" with silver sandals and silver lipstick, and has her name carved into her fingernails. At the end, it is not known whether Esmé escaped the fire at Hotel Denouement with Carmelita Spats, but the narrative suggests that if she did, she never again met the Baudelaire children. She was on the 2nd floor when the Baudelaires last saw her.
In The End, Esmé is not present but her presence is felt; Olaf, disguising himself as Kit Snicket, wears Esme's fire-dress from The Slippery Slope, and later mentions the loss of his "true love" as one of the many things that he has "lost too much to go on", although there are implications that that he is referring to Kit Snicket, not Esmé.
In Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography, a transcript of a meeting held by V.F.D. Volunteers is attended by eleven members of the secret organization, and refers to them only by the first initial of their first name. Two people called O and E, both of which are unwelcome to the meeting, as voiced by many Volunteers, enter the building where the meeting is taking place and force the V.F.D. members to agree to their demands. The O may be Olaf, and the E may be Esmé.
In The Penultimate Peril, Olaf and Esmé break up their partnership after fighting during the dramatic "harpoon gun" incident- a fight Carmelita was partially responsible for starting.