My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

My Sister, the Serial Killer

My Sister, the Serial Killer, set in Lagos, Nigeria, is one of the most compelling and fast-paced reads among the Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlisted novels in 2019. I managed to devour it in a single setting, and it has a simple premise.

Ayoola, Korede’s little sister, is everything Korede is not. She is a fashion designer in her own right, and unlike the plain looking Korede, she turns heads wherever she goes. So seducing men has always been a breeze for her, although letting them live once she tires of them has proven to be the real task! You see, Ayoola is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, who hides her murderous intents well underneath her beauty – the men who have outlived their usefulness don’t even know what hit them when they die at her hands. And they always leave behind a bloody mess! So it is Korede, the orderly one out of the two sisters, who runs to Ayoola’s rescue each time.

But why would Korede, a virtuous, responsible person, help Ayoola conceal her crimes? At first, Ayoola had fed her some bull about the murders being acts of self-defense, which Korede no longer believes in after having helped Ayoola to dispose yet another body. Even so, Korede isn’t one to turn on her sister. As the elder sibling, Korede feels it’s her responsibility to protect Ayoola, although the circumstances end up testing if blood is really thicker than water when Ayoola bewitches Tade, the man of Korede’s dreams.

While My Sister, the Serial Killer isn’t a thriller per se (it’s more of a character study), it was twisted enough to keep me guessing. The novel’s contemplative writing which examines Korede’s yearnings and emotions (throughout the novel, she is torn between her loyalty to Ayoola, and love for Tade), and complex dynamics of sibling relationships was also a plus for me. So even though I’m not convinced My Sister, the Serial Killer has enough substance to win the Women’s Prize for Fiction, it proved to be one gratifying read! 3.5 stars.


  1. I liked this one quite a bit – a real commentary on the seemingly unstoppable fetishisation of ‘beauty’. I enjoyed the cultural differences in the writing, whilst simultaneously noting that people are, as ever, people, no matter their background or location.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree. Speaking of cultural differences – I had so much fun googling different Nigerian dresses that came up in the story. 🙂


  2. Literary Elephant · · Reply

    I’m glad you liked this one! I know what you mean about not being sure it’ll be a Women’s Prize winner; I wasn’t even sure it would make the shortlist. But I did have such a fun time with this one also and am so glad to see more readers picking it up now that it’s advanced. The sibling dynamics were also a plus for me, and I loved that it turned out to be something other than a traditional thriller!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hmm… Out of the four shortlisted novels I’ve read so far, I feel like My Sister, the Serial Killer has the least chance of winning because I think the judges care about the winner carrying a big message. But my logic puts An American Marriage (my current least favorite) ahead of My Sister, the Serial Killer, and I find it a tad bit annoying. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Literary Elephant · · Reply

        I completely agree! I enjoyed An American Marriage but I don’t really want it to win. It does seem like a popular choice, but it just didn’t delve deep enough to win me over.


  3. […] My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite – Nirmala of Red Lips and Bibliomaniacs found Braithwaite’s blackly comedic novel “compelling”, “fast-paced” and “twisted enough to keep [her] guessing”. […]


  4. I just completed this book and in my opinion Korede is really protecting herself. I believe the book hints at Korede and Ayoola killing their father and they seemed to have bonded over murder. However, Ayoola doesn’t care much for Korede as throughout the book you can see how little regard she has for her. Also, Korede’s jealousy of Ayoola is astronomical and makes her pathetic.


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