Barbara Sinclair Benson is alleging that she is owed the $15million fortune of her deceased uncle, a mysterious writer who allegedly served as partial inspiration for Holden Caulfield in 'The Catcher in the Rye'
A California woman is claiming that she is the long-lost niece of a New York writer who died two years ago, leaving behind a $15million fortune.
In a further twist, the writer who allegedly is Barbara Sinclair Benson's uncle, Lamont Buchanan, might have served as inspiration for JD Salinger's iconic 'Holden Caulfield' character from 'The Catcher in the Rye', reports the New York Daily News.
Benson is claiming that she is the only heir to Buchanan's fortune, which is currently held by the City of New York because he did not leave behind a will.
'I just don’t want the state of New York to get the money,' Benson, 80, told the Daily News. 'My children and grandkids can enjoy it a lot more and put it to better use.'
Buchanan died at the age of 96 and left behind $15.4million.
He was an editor at a pulp magazine throughout the 1940s and authored some 15 picture books.
The source of his $15million is not known; however, acquaintances told the Daily News that he and his wife, Jean Milligan, were quite frugal.
Milligan's nephew told the Daily News: 'It must have been amassed through frugal living and careful investment.'
Under New York state law, only biological relatives as opposed to relatives by marriage may receive inheritances.
Buchanan was known by relatives to be quite reclusive and lived in a rent-controlled apartment in Manhattan, New York.
Pictured is JD Salinger, the author of 'The Catcher in the Rye.' A woman claimed that when she was 18, she interviewed Salinger. From that interview, she allegedly gleaned information signalling that Buchanan served as inspiration for Holden Caulfield
And in an odd twist, he might have served as inspiration for Holden Caulfield.
In 2012, a journalist called Noel Young spoke with a 90-year-old woman named Shirley Ardman who claimed that, when she was 18, she interviewed a not-yet-famous JD Salinger.
The interview was set up by Buchanan, a mutual acquaintance.
During the interview with Young, Ardman stated that Buchanan served in part as inspiration for Caulfield.
The fictional boarding school dropout and teenage rebel is, arguably, one of the most iconic literary characters of the 20th century.
Salinger himself, along with various other individuals, have been pedaled as inspirations for the character as well.
A kinship hearing will be held in the future to determine whether Benson, the only daughter of Buchanan's only sibling, will be eligible to inherit the will.