Hastily Hidden MacGuffin
Action revolves around the search for something initially hastily hidden in some innocuous object.
A thief or smuggler is carrying some valuable thing, and the authorities are closing in. The thief cannot be caught in possession of the item, and clearly has not planned for this eventuality in advance. In a moment of inspiration, the carrier hides the item in some handy nearby location, inside a cheap vase or a teddy bear or somebody else's suitcase — and the whole rest of the story revolves around the interested parties trying to find or get back to the thing wherever it happens to have been hidden. The MacGuffin might even have been hidden in one of a dozen identical trinkets, forcing seekers to hunt down all of them until they find the right one.
- Usagi Yojimbo In the "A Potter's Tale" issue, a thief slips into a pottery workshop while on the run and hides a valuable gem in the wet clay of one of the bowls. So he knows which one contains the gem, he pinches the rim to make it stand out. Unfortunately for the thief, the potter sees the difference, likes the addition and does the same to all his bowls. The thief desperately buys all the bowls and smashes them to find the gem but the potter had already unknowingly given the bowl containing the gem back to the man that the thief stole it from as part of a business deal. Then thief's partners come looking for their share of the loot...
- In Blue Streak, Martin Lawrence's character stuffed a stolen diamond into ductwork in a building under construction. The building turned out to be a police station, and the character had to pretend to be a cop to have a chance to search for the diamond.
- French Kiss has the thief hide his stolen necklace and contraband grape vineling in the girl's luggage, and he then has to pursue her until he recovers them.
- In Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, a pair of thieves steal a famous diamond and ends up hiding it in Herbie's gas tank. Cue hijinks as Herbie and its drivers get chased without knowing why.
- In Home Alone 3. the MacGuffin is a stolen computer chip which the villains hid in a remote control car. After a mixup, the protagonist's neighbour ends up with it and gives it to him as payment for shovelling her drive.
- The Sherlock Holmes film The Pearl of Death is based on "The Adventure of the Six Napoleons," except that the Creeper is sent to kill the owners of the busts, then break all the owner's dishware to disguise the fact that they're just interested in the Napoleon.
- Sherlock Holmes stories dipped in this well more than once. In The Adventure of the Six Napoleons, a stolen pearl is hastily hidden in a plaster bust of Napoleon — one of a set of six, which are then sold to various customers, forcing the thief to seek out and smash them all. In The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle a stolen gem is hidden by being force-fed to a live goose.
- In the third book of the Eddie Dickens Trilogy, the villain hides the priceless Dog-Bone Diamond inside Malcolm, the stuffed stoat of Eddie's insane Aunt Maud. By the third book, Eddie has gotten so used to Maud being insane (and insisting that Malcolm is alive) that he no longer listens to her (especially when she claims that Malcolm is putting on weight and getting sick). In other words, Malcolm is so familiar to Eddie as to be invisible.
- John le Carré's spy thriller Smiley's People has Estonian ex-patriate General Vladimir contact retired British Intelligence agent George Smiley about a "legend" operation being conducted by Soviet mastermind Karla. "I have two proofs, and can bring them with me." The General is murdered before he meets with Smiley. However, Smiley deduces from the General's footprints in the snow that the victim paused in his flight to jettison something toward a municipal park. There, Smiley finds a pack of cigarettes in a tree, which contains two compromising photo negatives.
- The entire plot of The Twelve Chairs is built on that. Madame Petukhova, an Imperial Russian noblewoman, hid her collection of jewelry in a chair during the Revolution of 1917, to prevent the revolutionaries from confiscating them. Years later, her son-in-law Ippolit Vorobyaninoff learns about that from Madame on her deathbed, and starts to look for that chair. As you can guess from the title, there are eleven more chairs looking exactly like that one.
- Get Smart: Max has to smuggle some plans hidden in a tooth cap in the "The Whole Tooth and..." episode and when he is nearly caught by KAOS agents, he puts it on the tooth of sleeping man at a train station. After he and 99 take care of the agents they discover the man was a convict being transported to prison and spend the rest of the episode trying to get in and retrieve the plans.
- Monk: Some men break into Natalie's house in the "Mr. Monk and the Red Herring" episode that show an unusual interest in Julie's aquarium. Turns out they had stolen a million-dollar moonrock from a museum but could not get it out because the guards were searching everyone so they put it in one of the aquarium kits in the gift shop. When they returned to retrieve the rock, they found that Julie had bought the kit.
- Shadowrun supplement Portfolio of a Dragon: Dunkelzahn's Secrets. According to the dragon Dunkelzahn's will the Russian crown jewels were smuggled out of the country after the Russian Revolution inside one of the nine spinet pianos from the royal palace.
- In an episode of The Powerpuff Girls, a thief loses a jewel he stole in a cereal factory and looks frantically for the box where it fell. He finally finds the box with the jewel inside, only it's now in the possession of the girls.
- Ken Krippene's Buried Treasure. After a German thief named Klaus Gudden acquired a pair of priceless rubies he decided to hide them. He went to a ceramic factory and purchased an unfired clay cat sculpture. He inserted the rubies into the sculpture, put a small X on it to identify it and left it to be baked. When he returned for it the police closed in and killed him when he tried to escape. The police didn't know what he had been up to and the sculpture was eventually sent to the U.S. to be sold.
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