“FOR those who like that sort of thing, that is the sort of thing that they like.” The incontrovertible logic of Miss Jean Brodie, who was talking about girl guides, might also be applied to spy novels, which have a vast following among those singular souls who’d like nothing more than a double-life.

Intriguingly, Brodie’s creator Muriel Spark had another life before her literary career took off. During the Second World War, she worked for the Political Intelligence Department of MI6, specialising in “black propaganda” and psychological warfare.

Such specialisms should probably be required experience for any novelist, and the role of spies, espionage and secrecy in the Edinburgh-born author’s life and work will be explored in a public discussion taking place in the capital tomorrow evening.

Muriel Spark’s Secret World, chaired by archivist Dr Colin McIlroy in discussion at the National Library of Scotland with three leading academics, is just one event in Edinburgh Spy Week, which focuses on the ways in which espionage stalks our history and culture.

Organised by the University of Edinburgh, Spy Week opens the books this evening at 50 George Square, where Jeremy Duns, author of the Paul Dark thrillers, and Aly Monroe, creator of the Peter Cotton espionage series, will discuss recent trends in fictional spying.

Wednesday at the same venue will see a real, non-fictional intelligence expert, Mark Laity, illuminate our anxieties about secrecy, surveillance and the current climate of suspicion that dominates public discourse.

Laity should know something about it, as director of communications at the distinctly Bond-sounding SHAPE, the military headquarters of NATO. He was previously the BBC’s defence correspondent for 11 years, reporting from the frontlines of many conflicts including the break-up of Yugoslavia and the 1991 Gulf War.

On Thursday, at Blackwell’s Bookshop, secret services historian Stephen Dorril and Guy Burgess biographer Andrew Lownie dig into the secret lives of spies and the challenges of writing about them, while Friday brings proceedings to a close with an exploration by novelists Mick Herron and Denise Misa of the differences between spy and detective fiction. That’s at St Cecilia’s Hall.

As part of Spy Week, Edinburgh Filmhouse is screening American suspense movie 36 Hours (this evening), Nazi-hunting classic The Boys from Brazil (tomorrow evening), and Taiwanese classic of betrayal and shadowy identities The Best Secret Agent (Wednesday).

All in all, there’s a lot of shadowy goings-on in the capital this week – for those who like that sort of thing.

The website www.spyweek.ed.ac.uk/spy-week-2018/ has more details about Edinburgh Spy Week, which runs from today till Friday.