``Looking back I realize I should have expected something.'' If that opening line quickens your pulse, you're going to love this first mystery by Emmy-winning soap opera star Shaffer. And even if you don't, it'll be a pleasure to see somebody as smarmy as Gregg Whithall, American Broadcasting Network's daytime TV czar, get a bullet through his naked sternum and a gold lamÇ rose tied around his--uh, tied below the bullet hole. Bright Tomorrow executive producer Angie DaVito, who somehow finds herself first identified with the police and then competing with them, traces the rose back to the glory days of Bright Tomorrow star Jesse Southland. It was via Jesse that Gregg had seduced his way into the top job--after which he dropped her from the show. But Jesse was killed two years ago in a car accident. Who treasures her memory enough to kill for it? The guys in props or wardrobe; the assistant veeps locked in a death struggle over Gregg's job; the sweet-tempered actress who plays the show's bitch on wheels; or head writer Larry Bradley, who's forsaken Angie's bed for marriage to an idiot with endless legs? It's a tough call for Angie, who can't believe any of them could've done it. Considerably more knowing about soap operas than mysteries. Still, it's hard to resist a heroine who remarks a few hours after a body turns up in the star's dressing room, ``The rest of the day passed without incident.''