Patrick Maloney is the murder victim and may be considered the story’s antagonist. He is a policeman and Mary Maloney’s husband. Given that the reader knows Patrick only through the lens of Mary’s perception, his true thoughts, feelings, and motivations are unknown.

Mary finds his quiet masculinity, and the faraway quality in his eyes when he looks at her, appealing. Unfortunately, the faraway look in the eyes indicates detachment rather than thoughtfulness, a red flag that has apparently eluded Mary for quite some time.

In the beginning, Mary looks forward to his return home from work. She expects to spend a pleasant evening with him, dining in a nice restaurant after enjoying the cocktails she has prepared. It comes as a surprise to Mary that when Patrick does finally enter, his responses are curt, blunt, and even discourteous. When Mary knows for certain that something is wrong and begins to feel apprehensive, Patrick is described as keeping his head down with the light from the lamp beside him illuminating only the upper part of his face. When he tells Mary that he is leaving her, the narrator describes the effects of Patrick’s words but does not reveal the words themselves, suggesting the specific verbiage of his decision is less important than the decision itself.

Patrick’s back is dismissively turned to Mary when she kills him. It is not until her cover-up begins that the reader learns his name.