Literary Recipes – Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Missing Penne with Tuna and Tomato (happy birthday Sir Conan-Doyal)



“You know my methods. Apply them.” The Sign of Four

….the funny hat is essential for this pasta dish….

Penne with Tuna and Tomato

Course first courses
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2


  • 200 grams Smooth penne
  • 1 can Tuna Fish
  • 4 Peeled and seeded tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Crushed garlic glove
  • 1 lemon rind, grated
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 funny hat
  • 1 magnifying glass


  • Set the dining room table for two. Rub both the main and individual serving bowls with the crushed garlic, then remove
  •  Boil the penne and drain the tuna
  • Once done, shred the basil and mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl,
  • ready to serve.
  • Leave on the dining room table a minute while you go back into the kitchen to get the bottle of Chardonnay you put in the icebox to chill.
Keyword Quick & Easy

When you come back out the bowl is still there but all the penne are gone. A crime! Examine the scene of the crime for clues. The bowl has been moved slightly from where you left it and there seem to be some oily fingerprints on its side. All the silverware is still there, still clean, including the forks. Check around the house for more clues.
The front door is closed and locked but the side door has been opened and then closed again. Look closely at the doorknob. Its metal surface seems to reflect light irregularly, as if someone with oily hands has used the knob this very evening! Take out your magnifying glass and exam it more closely. The handle on the inside in fact appears oily. Dab a handkerchief onto the handle. Bring it to your nose. It smells exactly as the penne did after they’d been mixed with the other ingredients. Yet the handle on the outside is clean and opaque. That means that the thief is still inside the house!

Look through all the rooms on the ground floor to see if anyone is hiding. No one is found, but on the railing of the stairs leading to the 2nd floor you again notice some telling olive oil stains. The criminal is upstairs! Grab the duck-handled umbrella leaning on the side of the staircase and slowly creep up, umbrella drawn.
Open up the door to the first room! No one there. The second room! No one again. The third! Still no one. There is only one room left. The hoodlum must be behind that door! Make certain of your grip on the umbrella in your right hand. Place your left hand on the knob, slowly turn the handle, then push open the door. A-ha! “Watson!?”


“Oh, the devil, Watson. Did you eat all my penne?”

“Well, I, I, I’m sorry Holmes. I didn’t mean to, really! It’s this Atkins diet I’m on. All this meat and veggies you know. I couldn’t put up with it anymore. I need some pasta, or potato chips, rice, anything! I really only meant to have a taste but once I started I couldn’t stop. It was as if something grabbed hold of me…”

“Watson, you’ll be lucky if I don’t grab a hold of your nose and pull it off! You’re going off this diet right now. That’s the third time this week. You’re getting fatter while I’m becoming as thin as this umbrella.”

“I suppose you’re right Holmes. I am sorry. Let me take down to The Old Boar’s Head and buy you at least a sandwich or something. Like you always say, it’s elementary.”

“My dear Watson, I never say that.”

“Yes you do.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Yes you do.”

“No I don’t.”

“Yes you do.”

“No I don’t…”


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