I wonder where she keeps the knife. I never come across it, except in those moments when I am looking down at the bleeding body before me, and sometimes I don't even see it then. For some reason, I cannot imagine her resorting to stabbing if that particular knife were not in her hand; almost as if it were the knife and not her that was doing the killing.
It's misleading to call Braithwaite's debut "a mystery," or "a thriller." There's not much mystery here. The book's title reveals the identity of the killer and the strange tale evolves to be more hilarious than heartbreaking. Sure, the story is dark. Braithwaite, who is from Nigeria and currently lives in Lagos, spins a tale of blood and guts and really, really big knives. But more importantly, she describes a pair of sisters who will do anything to protect one another from the neighborhood's shallow suitors. The youngest and most traditionally beautiful sister, Ayoola, has the awkward habit of murdering her boyfriends when she tires of them. Korede, Ayoola's older sister, only hopes to keep her sister out of jail in the aftermath of these slashings. The first few chapters describe Korede hunched over, scrubbing blood off Ayoola's white, bathroom tiles. Sounds gloomy, I know, but Braithwaite somehow makes the story mostly funny. My Sister, the Serial Killer is short (it's almost skeletal) and you can read it in one or two sittings. I generally appreciate this type of deliberately thin novel, but there's just not enough space here for Braithwaite to deeply develop her characters. Perhaps I'm just greedy and wanted the story to last longer. So much good fiction coming out of Nigeria this year (and probably every year, but I'm especially excited about this year).