The Rat Hole was a greasy spoon diner located in Jokertown in the 1970s. In the winter of 1978, the Rat Hole was the scene of a multiple homicide as five people were killed in an apparent botched robbery that became known as the Rat Hole Murders.

Three customers and two employees were shot by someone one night near Christmas, 1978. The short order cook Maddox Hash Crowder, managed to fire a shot with a sawed off shotgun he kept for protection before being killed. The other victims included Lizzie Glowworm Wallace, a waitress, and customers Donald The Drip Reynolds, a homeless man, Stella Bareback Nichols, a stripper who worked at Freakers, and Joel Eric Arnold, a janitor who worked at Fort Freak. At the time of the murder, Hash was cooking an unusually large amount of food, despite the fact that the three customers all had their orders accounted for. The police were able to reach the scene unusually quickly due to an anonymous tip that came in shortly after the shooting.

Soon after the shooting a local addict named Deedle was arrested for the crime. He was driving a stolen car which had previously belonged to The Drip, and had in his possession the remnants of the drugs which Hash was dealing out of the back of The Rat Hole. While being transfered to lockup Deedle escaped by biting off his own finger and slipping out of his handcuffs. He was later discovered beaten to death near the newly opened Our Lady of Perpetual Misery.

In the 21st century, a fire in the records room of the local courthouse damaged a series of files, including those pertaining to The Rat Hole Murders. Wanda Moretti, who had worked as a court reporter on the case, brought them to Leo Storgman, one of the detectives who worked the case. After discovering that the files were among a series to be reviewed by the civil liberties lawyer Dr Henrik Praetorious, who had represented Deedle in the original case, she became suspicious and wondered if Deedle might be innocent. Moretti convinces Storgman to reinvestigate the case and Storgman also becomes convinced that Deedle is innocent. Through his investigations he discovers that Lizzie Wallace was romantically involved with Warlock, the leader of the gang The Werewolves, and comes to believe that the large amount of food Hash was cooking was for a recently awakened Croyd Crenson, who managed to escape the diner, possibly being the one who phoned in the anonymous tip.

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