Oyinka Braithwaite’s My sister, the serial killer, a book review


By Faith Yeega

The story is set in the city of (modern day) Lagos with 75 short subtitles and 225 pages, Oyinka Braithwaite’s My Sister, The Serial Killer tells the tale of two sisters, Korede and Ayoola who are distinct, but yet very alike.

The novel opens with Korede getting a summon from her younger sister Ayoola who has yet again, killed another young man and needs her sister to help her cover her tracks.

A young man named Femi whom Ayoola has been seeing for barely one month is the unfortunate victim this time.

Following the call, Korede abandons the food she was getting ready to eat and goes to her sister’s aid.

The murder took place in Femi’s bathroom where he was stabbed with Ayoola’s now infamous murder weapon, ‘the knife’.

Femi, we are made to understand through Korede’s observant eyes was a tidy and meticulous fellow who made sure to keep things in an organized and clean fashion as she noted from the alphabetical arrangement of the books on his bookshelf to the supplies in his bathroom. And also very creative as we’d get to find out as the story unfolds.

Ayoola being a Nurse and a clean freak, who knows how to engage various disinfectants and cleaning agents to get the best out of them, goes on an excruciating 3 hours of thorough clean up of Femi’s bathroom doing away with the blood and sweats.

The body is, after the clean up, disposed in the lagoon at the Lagos third mainland bridge where the previous one was deposited.

It’s Ayoola’s third murder now. The first came when she was 17. Somto, her first victim was killed with the knife and Korede received her first call for help. The body was set on fire in his apartment as Korede was too scared to carry out any sort of cleaning. The second victim, Peter, like the third was thrown in the lagoon.

The story is told in the first person narrative by Korede, the older sister with a simple diction. Through Korede’s eyes we are taken on a journey which explores the darkness that lies beneath beauty and silence.

is the older of both sisters. Though tall, she isn’t as physically attractive as her younger sister. A dutiful nurse, whose dedication to work would earn her a promotion to head nurse. Very reserved. Lives in her head and bears the burden of her sister’s sinister actions…. She cleans efficiently!

Ayoola is Korede’s younger sister. A fashion designer, social media freak with sociopathic tendencies. Blessed with full rosy lips, long eyelashes, an irresistible beautiful face, Ayoola is a near perfect piece of art expect for her small frame(which doesn’t really count in the eyes of men) and a darkness which is known to only her victims and her sister.

TADE is the lovely doctor who works with Korede at the hospital. He is Korede’s unrequited love interest who to Korede’s dismay falls for Ayoola. Tade unlike the ones before him manages to do harm to Ayoola and doesn’t lose his life, but he suffers a loss that will change his life forever.

Tade’s character evokes a sense of pity and disappointment. Pity for what happened to him and disappointment because Korede did her best to warn him (as he’ll realize much later), but he turned out to be shallow and unable to see past Ayoola’s compelling beauty instead of the deep and different sort, Korede had envisaged him to be.

GBOYEGA is Chief Gboyega. the married man who paid for Ayoola’s course in fashion and provided her with capital for her business. A piece of information Korede will digest in surprise as she gets to find out she’s been lied to and kept in the dark by her sister concerning how she got the money for her business.
Gboye’s dream of wanting Ayoola to have the best of everything (as he told Korede) is a short lived one, because he doesn’t return from the Dubai trip he went on with Ayoola. He died!

Korede and Ayoola’s father was an autocratic, abusive patriarch and very vain. A business man with connections and a social appearance to keep up. He owned ‘the knife’ (which Ayoola ‘inherited’) and met an unfortunate or fortunate (depending on whose side you are coming from) end when he slumped and hit his head against the glass table, fell to the floor with his children towering over him, mirroring his position over Korede before he died!

Their mother, a shallow woman with a high degree of social consciousness. Like her husband, she has a social appearance to keep up and like her children she was physically and ’emotionally’ abused. She has absolutely no idea what was really going on in her children’s lives and doesn’t seem to have lots of inclination to know, as she is more interested in them getting married, than knowing if they were a murderous bunch.

Becoming overwhelmed with the burden and guilt of helping her sister, Korede turns to Muhtar, a coma patient at the hospital (with his own family issues) and confides in him.


Oyinka also throws a little light on some societal lax, especially in the law enforcement agencies. This is portrayed in the subtle ‘Traffic’ when Korede had an encounter with a road safety official on her way to work and with the police under the sub ‘Car’ following the ‘investigation’ of Femi’s supposed ‘murder’.

Korede doesn’t in any way approve of her sister’s action, but she’s bound to look after and take care of her younger sister. A charge she was given when Ayoola was born and takes quiet seriously. She wants to put an end to it all and free herself and her conscience, but has no idea of when and where to draw the line between being free and being loyal to the one you love. Instead, as it suggests at the end of the novel, she resigns from trying to free herself and simply accepts her ‘fate’ as Ayoola’s elder sister.

A generous amount of imagery among other literary device is employed in the work. From the image on the cover page to the pictures painted with words in the pages of the book itself.


What really happened to their father?
Why does Ayoola’s go after her victims? Self defence? Revenge? Or just an unquenchable thirst to eliminate as many males as possible? All these questions and others left for the imagination.

Korede and Ayoola in spite of their very d
istinct physical features, turn out to be alike in various ways. Both raised with anything both ‘soft love’, had to learn to ‘rely’ on each other. Though the reliance falls heavily to one side than the other.

Both victims of abuse, its effect and depth beyond what is presented in the story.

They are both ‘damaged’ and share a subtle, yet very evident melancholy.

​Ayoola is the serial killer, but it’s hard to say who is worse. The one who kills or the one who ‘expertly’ covers up the tracks. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *