Begin with the enforced intimacy of a place – preferably remote and rural. Add a handful of people who haven’t seen each other in a long time/don’t get along/have secrets. Toss in some bad weather. Stir.
It’s the set-up for a lot of novels, full of potential volatility, though it can feel tired, even dreary if not handled well.
In his new novel, The Red House, Mark Haddon, the author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, handles it very well.