"Deadly Design" is a mix of history and suspense. As a non-American, I don't know much about American history, and appreciated this insight into the life and time of Thomas Jefferson. However, I did feel that the suspense part of the story lacked some polishing. Everybody seemed to have a motive and/or a secret to keep, and Millie was rather too obvious a wanna-be detective in her musings as she mentally evaluated each person's motivation.Still, the history/suspense mix was well balanced and the mix worked well. The plot was interesting enough to keep me well entertained, and I finished the book in just a couple of days, undeterred by the fact that I hadn't read the first book in the series.