The hours before dawn by Celia Fremlin was an ebay purchase based on the fact that it was a Virago Modern Classic that I hadn't heard of before, and the title sounded somewhat intriguing (I don't tend to do much more research than that into my ebay purchases since as the plan is to read ALL of the VMCs I'm probably going to read the book anyway in due course, but this is a good way of starting!).
A domestic setting, but ultimately a story of extreme suspense. Louise, the main character, is a harrassed mother of three, trying to cope with a newborn baby who won't sleep through the night as well as two younger daughters. Fremlin well describes Louise's situation and it is difficult not to feel sympathy for her. They take in a lodger, a slightly mysterious school teacher named Miss Brandon. And the fatigued Louise starts to lose sense of reality and begins to believe that Miss Brandon is spying on them... The novel is extremely well plotted and builds to a horrific conclusion - it's difficult to write more without giving the story away!
It's just been published once by Virago with the modern style of green cover. Unfortunately Virago don't publish any of her other novels which is a shame as apparently she is known for writing extremely good but underrated crime novels. This novel was awarded the Edgar Allan Poe prize for best crime novel.