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I think he takes the case because:
1. He obviously has a problem turning down a woman. He can't resist becoming involved with any woman who comes
across his path.
2. He seems to like a riddle. Through the book he doesn't know what's going on, but he plays along until things come
out his way. I think he was intrigued with the possibilities of what Brigid's story really was.
Since this is the first Sam Spade novel I have read, what makes same tick is a bit unclear to me. I agree with Chris, he certainly seems to have never seen a woman he doesn't "love." I would like to think that he can see through all the foolishness to a problem that he really thinks he can solve.
I wonder how many harrassment lawsuits Spade would have today if he talked to his secretary and clients like that. Not to mention all the touching, patting, etc., etc. Just a thought.