Another tightly contested auction, this one among four publishers, was won by Morrow's

Claire Wachtel, who paid six figures for a second novel by Bombay-born novelist and journalist

Thrity Umrigar. It's called

Thicker Than Water and is about the relationship between an upper-class Parsi woman in Bombay and a servant woman who works in her home, proving that interests of shared gender and humanity triumph over other considerations. The deal for world rights (except Germany, sold separately) was made by agent

Marly Rusoff, who reports that rights in the U.K. and India have already been acquired, by, respectively, Fourth Estate and Harper India. Umrigar was a Harvard fellow who is now teaching creative writing at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Her debut novel, Bombay Time, was published three years ago by Picador USA.