Early last October Mrs Hudson, Sherlock Harpers landlady, was busy in her kitchen making several Christmas cakes for Sherlock Harper, his friends and family. Dr Watson wasn’t keen on fruitcake so she made him a chocolate log instead.
“Oh dear”, cried Mrs Hudson.
“Whatever is the matter”, asked Sherlock Harper having dashed into the kitchen to see what was the cause of her anguish.
“I plunged a stick of spaghetti in the fruitcake to test if it’s cooked”, she said, “If it comes out clean it’s done”.
“So why the distress”, replied Sherlock Harper.
“Because it’s snapped inside the cake”, she said.
Sherlock Harper removed a stick of spaghetti from the packet Mrs Hudson had just bought from Morrison’s and measured it against the pieces she alleged snapped.
“My dear Mrs Hudson”, he said, “You are indeed correct. Without accurately measuring it I would guess it’s shorter by one inch”.
Mrs Hudson tried as best she could to locate the missing piece of spaghetti from the cake but could not find it.
“There seems to be only two options available”, said Sherlock Harper, “Cut the cake in half and retrieve it now or wait until Christmas”.
Although the thought of eating a fruitcake in October delighted her, Mrs Hudson decided to wait until Christmas.
“I think it would be safer to keep this cake away from all the rest – and label it as ours”, said Sherlock Harper, “We don’t want it to be given to someone by mistake”.
Mrs Hudson and Sherlock Harper had just finished eating the very last two slices of Christmas cake when Mrs Hudson gasped in horror, “Neither of us found the spaghetti”.
“A piece of spaghetti can’t just go missing from inside a cake”, replied Sherlock Harper, “It must have been the work of Professor Moriarty”.
Sherlock Harper got to his feet, “He must have sneaked in and switched the cakes when we were out”.
Mrs Hudson cupped her cheeks with her hands in terror, “That means either Jan or Dennis, our ex neighbour, must have had it”.
Sherlock Harper rubbed his chin. He was in deep thinking mode.
“Mrs Hudson”, he asked, “Was the kitchen foil on our cake damaged when you came to marzipan it”.
“No”, she replied.
Sherlock Harper rubbed his chin again.
“Do you think he switched labels”, suggested Mrs Hudson.
“Not without removing particles of kitchen foil in the process which you would have noticed immediately”.
Sherlock Harper rubbed his chin even harder.
“Mrs Hudson”, he asked, “When you came to marzipan the cake, were there any signs of damage to the cake”.
“Yes”, she replied.
Sherlock Harper shouted with joy.
“Mr Harper”, she said, “Whatever is the matter with you”.
“My arch enemy Professor Moriarty is innocent”, he replied, “Well on this occasion anyway. You said the cake was damaged but Jan and Dennis’s weren’t. If you remember the damage was the result of you trying to locate the missing piece of spaghetti.”
A mightily relieved Mrs Hudson said “Then I haven’t caused the death, by choking on a piece of spaghetti, of either Jan or Dennis”.
Late that evening Sherlock Harper, Dr Watson and Mrs Hudson were having a large glass of wine and a piece of Dr Watson’s chocolate log.
“So what do you think happened to the piece of spaghetti”, asked Mrs Hudson.
Sherlock Harper put down his glass, took a large bite of chocolate log, clutched at his throat and cried, “Urrrrrrgh”.