To detect, or rather to get a scent, of some plot or scheme. The allusion is to the detection of robbers by the smoke seen to issue from their place of concealment.
No smoke without fire. Every slander has some foundation. The reverse proverb, “No fire without smoke,” means no good without some drawback.
To end in smoke. To come to no practical result. The allusion is to kindling, which smokes, but will not light a fire.
To smoke the calumet (or pipe) of peace. (See Calumet.)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894