Student or Learner
Once Ashenden had seen him in the old quarter of the city, with its silent houses and deserted streets, talking at a corner to a man whose appearance very much suggested the spy and he would have given a great deal to hear what they said to one another.
(W.S. Maugham; Miss King)
Does it mean that this 'spy' has been already mentioned before?
(There is actually one spy mentioned before, but I doubt that it is he who is being talked to here.)
It might be that spy (I don't know the book, but I share your doubt). More probably he's referring to the archetype - as in 'It's not enough for me to play the pretty little stay-at-home wife'.