The Baby is Mine: A Crime Fiction Book

Podcast version availible here.

I’m already a fan of Oyinkan Brsithwait’s My Sister The Serial Killer, so could not resist picking up this “quick read,” designed for those not “into reading,” when it appeared in my local supermarket. A direct comparison with MSTSK isn’t really applicable as their differing lengths, makes it a bit like going to a high end resturant and comparing the amouse bouche with the main course.

The Baby Is Mine is an engaging, playful and modern take on the biblical tale Solomon’s judgement. It features two women each of whom claims to be the mother of a specific infant, neither can prove it, but neither is willing to give up her claim.

Solomon, known as Bambi in Braithwaites version, is far from the wise elder he is often portrayed as. Braithwaite choose to highlight biblical Solomon’s prodigious wives, above other characteristics more prized by cultures still leaning towards Victorian sensibilities and a desire to ignore that which they find inconvenient. As readers we are given the privilaged position of noticing what Bambi doesn’t, to mirred in his own self-absorbtion to see the red flags everywhere, and the little clues which are obvious to those of us who can look at this vingette with more dispassionate eyes.

Big fan of both Oyinkan’s writing and personal style.

What this book is really about is an exploration of the complex relationships between women – which is possibly Braithwaites greatest strength – and leave us with a read that although “quick” plunges us straight into a fully developed pshyco-drama, as complex and morally grey as any we may inhabit it real life, which Braithwaite sprinkles with the claustrophobia of lockdown.

This is the kind of book you can read in one sitting, and it is not any lesser of good read because of it. If you do know someone who isn’t into reading, but loves a mystery then this would be an ideal gift, but even if you are a veteran reader, it’s still worth picking up, just to enjoy the technique and balancing act Braithwaite so expertly executes.

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