Volumes of reports, observations, minutes, remarks, despatches, annotations, etc., were being bound in red tape, and forwarded from the Circumlocution Department to the Sealing-Wax Office, thence to the Pipeclay Department, to the Lead-Pencil Office, then to the Permanent Consideration officials, to reach their last resting-place in the Waste-Paper Department!

Spoken by Dr Jotson in The Complete Casebook of Herlock Sholmes, by Charles Hamilton, circa 1917

In “The Red-Tape Mystery”, Sholmes was requested to locate missing red tape for the Circumlocution Department. Without the red tape, all written communication had ceased. As quickly as the red tape was delivered to the office of Mr. Slack Karr, it disappeared. Although he was suffering from the effects of eating tinned tongue in Chicago, the great detective took the case and discovered the red tape which had been carefully hidden. Herlock Sholmes saved the Empire!