My sister the serial killer

My Sister the Serial Killer

Oyinkan Braithwaite

A darkly humorous, thriller-esque story about a young Nigerian woman and her sister who has the habit of killing her boyfriends.

Ayoola and I don’t really have friends in the traditional sense of the word. I think you have to accept someone into your confidence, and vice versa, to be able to call them a friend.

An unconventional crime story, My Sister, the Serial Killer, tells us from its title who the murderer is. It is ultimately the story of Korede and her sister, Ayoola, their complicated relationship and a sisterly bond that is stronger than anything else. Korede has always been jealous and bitter towards Ayoola, who is the beautiful one, the favourite child, more stylish and sophisticated. But the two share a secret – the novel opens with Korede running to help her sister get rid of her boyfriend’s body, the third one she’s killed.

However, Korede’s loyalty seems to waver when Ayoola starts dating a doctor, Tade, who Korede works with and has been in love with for a long time. When it becomes clear that Tade is infatuated with Ayoola, Korede has to consider what her sister has become and how far she’s willing to go to protect her.

My Sister, the Serial Killer is a spin on the usual crime story: no mutilated female bodies, no male predator. Ayoola kills her boyfriends in ‘self-defence’, thinking she’s not doing anything wrong, that she is not guilty.

The novel allude throughout to its Nigerian setting and culture, as well as vivid descriptions of Lagos, where the author also lives. The story is a mix of humour, love story, family saga and crime; so, there’s something for every taste.


What do you learn about Nigeria and Nigerian culture from the novel?

How would you describe the relationship between the two sisters?

The novel deals with the influence parents and their behaviour has on the children. Would you agree? How do you explain this?

List some of the most common traits of the thriller novel and discuss how Braithwaite completely inverts them.

The novel strongly resonates in this #MeToo era. Why do you think that is?

Who is the real villain in the story (if there is one at all)?


When Ayoola and Tade get engaged, Korede becomes increasingly worried that the man she loves will be murdered by her sister. She contemplates revealing everything to him but once she starts alluding to the fact that her sister might not be who she seems to be, Tade doesn’t believe her and this creates a rupture in their friendship. However, Korede is not wrong; Ayoola does stab her fiancé, though he doesn’t die, and she finds herself in trouble. Now someone else knows who she truly is, and only her sister can help save her from prison. Ayoola claims she acted in self-defence, that she was attacked first, while Tade is arguing to the contrary. Korede needs to decide if she will protect her sister or side with the man she loves. In the end, sisterly bond is stronger than anything else and Korede’s word against Tade’s keeps Ayoola free.

My Sister, the Serial Killer is Braithwaite’s debut novel.

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