Being clean and orderly has countless benefits, many of which do not reveal themselves unless one’s sister is a serial killer.
In Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut novel My Sister, The Serial Killer (shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, 2019) we join sisters Korede and Ayoola in the midst of cleaning up victim number three. The bond between the sisters is instantly apparent. Korede is unhesitating and diligent in her work disposing of the evidence of younger sister Ayoola’s more malevolent side, while Ayoola takes a step back and does as she’s told, something she is rarely inclined to do otherwise, placing absolute trust in her sister to sort out this mess.
The pair live in Lagos, Nigeria, and lead very different lives. The beautiful Ayoola is a fashion designer. She is messy and impulsive, and quite happy using her looks to get her way. A string of infatuated men seem to gravitate towards her, each meeting an unfortunate end once the novelty wears off and Ayoola moves on to the next unwitting admirer. Nurse Korede, on the other hand, is practical, organised, and assertive. She excels in her work, and relies on her wits to get herself where she wants to be. She is not particularly interested in men, except for one man in particular, a doctor, Tade, who only sees her as a colleague and friend.
When Tade starts asking Korede about her sister, she knows what is coming. She knows how it will end if the man she loves is allowed to pursue a relationship with Ayoola, and Ayoola is showing an interest. Something has to be done if Korede doesn’t want to lose Tade, but in her efforts to prevent her sister murdering her love she risks losing both of them in the process.