The case of a 34-year-old otherwise healthy woman with retropharyngeal abscess due to a fishbone injury and presenting with neck stiffness and aphagia without visualization of a pharyngeal mucosal lesion is reported. The case illustrates that sore throat with symptoms out of proportion to oropharyngeal findings should prompt a search for pathologies other than simple pharyngotonsillitis. Other typical symptoms of a retropharyngeal abscess are high fever, dysphagia, hot potato voice and, less commonly, dyspnea and sepsis. Retropharyngeal abscess in adults occurs most often as a complication of a spread of infection from a pharyngeal focus, a foreign body injury, an iatrogenic trauma due to tracheal intubation or endoscopy, and blunt or perforating neck trauma. Contrary to children, a retropharyngeal abscess in adults without loco-regional infection or preceding trauma is very rare. This case illustrates how important imaging investigations (CT-scan) are in order to locate foreign bodies and to decide on surgical management. Aetiology, presenting signs, symptoms, methods of diagnosis, treatment and complications of a retropharyngeal abscess are briefly discussed.