The Hours Before Dawn
Discover the original psychological thriller, as a sleep deprived young mother struggles to stay sane.
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Discover the original psychological thriller…
Winner of the 1960 Edgar Award for best mystery novel
‘A lost masterpiece.’ PETER SWANSON
‘A flawless masterclass in tension from the talented Ms Fremlin.’ SARAH HILARY
Louise would give anything – anything – for a good night’s sleep. Forget the girls running errant in the garden and bothering the neighbours. Forget her husband who seems oblivious to it all. If the baby would just stop crying, everything would be fine.
Or would it? What if Louise’s growing fears about the family’s new lodger, who seems to share all of her husband’s interests, are real? What could she do, and would anyone even believe her? Maybe, if she could get just get some rest, she’d be able to think straight…
In a new edition of this lost classic, The Hours Before Dawn proves – scarily – as relevant to readers today as it was when Celia Fremlin first wrote it in the 1950s.
Excellent … This sharp, tense, clever novel, still readable and relevant all these years later, is a testament to changing social attitudes.
Celia Fremlin, who died aged 94 in 2009, can be labelled the grandmother of psycho-domestic noir, usually filled with women undergoing danger. Fremlin wrote rather better that most of her of literary grandchildren, as the reprint of her 1958 debut novel demonstrates. Louise is the exhausted mother of a crying baby. To make ends meet, she and her husband take in a lodger, a middle-aged woman. Slowly, a sinister atmosphere builds up. There’s something wrong, Louise suspects — or is her tiredness driving her mad?
Celia Fremlin is an astonishing writer, who explores that nightmare country where brain, mind and self battle to establish the truth. She illuminates her dark world with acute perception and great wit.
Tightly plotted and admirably concise... Fremlin expertly ratchets up the tension, notch by notch.
Highly intelligent entertainment, beautifully written with wit and humour.
It grips like grim death.
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